The Least I Could Do


Permanent-3 copy This post is a part of a weekly book discussion hosted by Jason Stasyszen of Connecting to Impact and Sarah Salter of Living Between the Lines. I encourage you to check out the other posts which can be found on their sites. The Book we are discussing is The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns.

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40

I admit to having a difficult time writing this blog post, I am (oddly enough) at a loss for words or I’m just not sure what my words should be. I could start off with a review of the first chapter but…I can’t…a plain review seems cold, distant and too easy for me. So, can I share a story instead? It’s about my friend Paul Grimsland (one of my core bros mention in my Band of Brothers series) whose life and commitment to the whole Gospel could have been included in Stearns book.

Paul (see Hope4Change ad on the lower right) has traveled to the Philippines since 1990 ministering to the poorest of the poor and trying to raise awareness to their plight. I have heard many stories over the years, none more powerful than this one. I can’t tell the story the way Paul relates it but I believe you will be different after reading it…it echoes the heart of the Father. It about a little girl named “Girlie”.

On one trip to the Philippines, Paul visited an AIDS ward in a hospital in Manila. There he saw a little girl laying on a bed in the foyer, her name was Girlie. She had aids, had been abandoned at the hospital by her family and was basically waiting to die. The staff kept her bed in the foyer they didn't have a room for her. No one ever came to visit or comfort her…she was alone. When Paul walked into the ward, Girlie went over, stood next to him and wouldn’t leave his side. Paul asked the staff what she wanted and they told Paul that she probably wanted someone to hug her and she choose him. My friend Paul had a choice…she was covered with open sores…she had aids…she was dying…she needed a father’s hug. What should he do….?

He picked her up in her arms and held her…close…open sores and all. Letting the little girl touch his face and arms and allowing the love of Christ come through his touch.

To me…that’s the whole Gospel in action. Girlie passed away a short time later, her story so moved Paul that he wrote a song (BTW, he’s also a talented musician)…here are the lyrics.

Words & Music by Paul Grimsland

On a fold out bed is where you spent your time
Passing the days watching people walk on by
Each day you waited but nobody came
They told me Girlie was your name
No family or friends to show they care
My heart just breaks to see you lying there
When I first saw you I wanted to pass by
But then I looked into your eyes


And the least I could do was hold you for a while
Try to bring you comfort try to make you smile
Taking time and holding you was the least that I could do

I must admit I was taken by surprise
Just holding you would help me realize
To show compassion doesn’t take that much
Just a tender loving touch
I wish that I knew just what to say
To express how you changed me on that day
Then it came your time to go
So by now I guess you know


And the least I could do was hold you for a while
Try to bring you comfort try to make you smile
Taking time and holding you was the least that I could do

There’s no hole in my friend Paul’s Gospel, not one I can see anyways…

"If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself." — St. Augustine of Hippo


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Dusty Rayburn said…
I'm moved. Thank you so much for sharing Paul and Girlie's story with us. There are so many hurting in this world who are waiting for us to love them.

It's time to plug the holes and live the gospel.
Sarah Salter said…
Oh, Jay... Nothing I can say could add to this post. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing it.
Jay Cookingham said…
It is soooo time to live the way He wants us to. Thanks Dusty
I appreciate you bro'
Jay Cookingham said… also. Thanks Bro'
Jay Cookingham said…
Sarah...I have known this story (and others like it) for a while
and it still breaks my heart. Thanks for your kind words, I appreciate it.
jasonS said…
What a story, Jay. Beautiful and powerful. This certainly shouldn't be a rarity, and if we live the Gospel the way your friend does, I know it won't.

Thank you. Also, I love your book discussion graphic--looks so nice.
Bill (cycleguy) said…
Thanks for the fantastic & moving story. If I am ever in that same position I would hope I would choose to love.
Jay Cookingham said…
Me too Bill...Me too....
Jay Cookingham said…
My friend Paul and his wife Vanessa are great people...I love them dearly.

Thanks Jason, as for the graphic, I had to let my artist side come out and play a bit.
Kennysdad said…
Paul might have been the last person to hug her this side of Glory, what a witness!
Jay Cookingham said…
I agree bro', I think he probably was. Thanks for dropping by!

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