One of the dearest “church ladies” that I had the privilege to know died yesterday in hospice care. She was living with her daughter and son-in-law, and at an elderly age, she peacefully died in her sleep. As a widow, she left behind one daughter, a son-in-law, and countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
When I was out of high school and on college breaks I was invited by her to come over and clean the house. This was for practical reasons because the labor of sweeping, dusting, and scrubbing were getting too difficult for her and her late husband. I was happy to do it, but later on the visits became more fun. I would drive them to church or spend an afternoon with them just to make sure they were doing just fine. (You see, her husband got more confused as he got older, and her family just wanted to be sure they were both ok).
It was in these Sunday afternoons that I learned some of the best lessons about marriage, love, and life. This couple had spent over 60 years together, and from what I could tell, they were still in love with each other decades later.
So, even though she didn’t know it, what did that special church lady teach me?
I learned how to play dominoes when I spent time with these two. As we went around the table each taking our turn, her husband would easily forget what “level” we were playing and get confused. This gracious woman never became frustrated by this or raised her voice. Her patience was incredible.
Instead, she helped him along at every turn, patiently explaining to him again and again what level we were playing. If I ever get married, I want to have this kind of patience.
Take Time to Make Things from Scratch
When I spent time with this couple, they would usually feed me lunch and dessert. (To my luck, lots and lots of delicious dessert). This woman even taught me how to make pancakes from scratch – and to take more time to care about the food I make.
Meals with these two helped me learn to slow down my eating, enjoy the company, and just enjoy the day a bit more with the understanding that food really is a blessing from God.
Keep Your Home, and More Importantly Your Heart, Clean of Clutter
From cleaning their home over the years, I could tell that they were neat and kept their home clean on a daily basis. But even better, as I dusted the rooms, I was able to catch a small glimpse at their treasured possessions of photos, painted plates, and figurines. This woman and her husband had built years, and decades, of cherished memorabilia that were dotted around their house. I think it greatly reflects their own hearts – ones that were full of the things that mattered and devoid of things that weren’t important.
I will miss this church lady and feel so blessed that I was able to spend time with her and her late husband before they died. My prayers go to her family in this difficult time, and may God bless them like He blessed me with this couple’s friendship.