It was old. It was rusty. It was perfect–perfect for my flower garden. I found the old gate leaning against a tree that was near the old pasture that once held my granddaddy’s cows. I pulled it out of the soil and brushed off the leaves that had been it’s cover for many years. Now, to go and ask my granddaddy if I could have it.
With great confidence and excitment I walked into the warm den and found him sitting in his favorite chair beside the picture window. My grandmother was in the kitchen so this was my opportunity.
“Granddaddy, I was walking in the woods and right when you get to the side pasture I found an old, rusted garden gate. I was wondering if I could have it for my garden.”
I expected a quick “yes” but instead I had to wait for his response. And wait I did. It seemed like I sat on the edge of the couch for half an hour waiting as he looked out the window. I was beginning to wonder if he’d heard me, but I knew my granddaddy was slow to speak and didn’t waste words, so I waited. I was not prepared for his answer.
“Well you know Beth, I want to keep that gate. There’s something I’ve been meaning to do with it.”
I was shocked. Did my eighty-eight year old granddaddy, who had to use a walker to get around, tell me that I couldn’t have the gate because he had a use for it? That gate had been sitting out there for years but he had not forgotten about it.
I left that day, without the gate, but with something much more valuable–the realization of how God sees our usefulness. We may be like an old gate sitting beside a pasture collecting leaves and becoming rusted over time, but God has not forgotten us. No matter how old we are, He still has a plan for us.
I have the gate now. My aunt gave it to me four years later, the year my granddaddy passed away. The gate is dear to me because it reminds me not only of my granddaddy, but of how God will never forget me and will always have a use for me–for there is no age limit on our usefulness in God’s eyes.