The past month, two acquaintances of mine have passed away. Both were 82 years old, and one thing I admire about both of them is that they continued to be active Christians in their senior years. More and more, I am convinced that physical and mental activity is one of the keys to happiness and well-being in later life.
Donna had returned to the area after being away for 20+ years (I first knew her as the mother of two boys in my youth group growing up). But she had jumped right back into church activity, participating in two different Bible study groups last fall. She was in my Thursday morning group. One thing I learned about her at the memorial service was that she had had an unhappy childhood. Her parents had not wanted children, and she had no siblings. She had made up her mind that whenever she was a mother she would love her children and make sure they knew it! All 5 of her children stood on the stage as one read memories of her. Five successful kids - a great testimony of a mother's love! What a sweet lesson!
Unfortunately Donna was killed in a car accident after attending a function of one of her grandchildren. It was untimely, but again, she was showing her love of children and being a grandmother.
Lou had been around for as long as I can remember...always very distinguished looking, she worked for many years at our nearby university, as a president's assistant and I'm told trained 3 presidents! She knew protocol and etiquette, welcoming important guests. With that kind of profession you might think she would be intimidating, but she wasn't. Widowed over 30 years ago, she was always willing to help and loved to chat. She regularly came to womens' events and served many times as a table hostess at RefresHER events that I coordinate. Her daughter is a good friend of mine and she has told me often her mother's advice to "be a helper to your husband, and be willing to go wherever the job is"- not the easiest advice to give a child but she encouraged her to do what it takes! Great advice and words of commitment.
She had only gotten really sick for a week before she passed. Her daughter told me she passed on her wedding anniversary day. Once again reunited with her husband! Such a sweet thought.
I wish I had known both of these women better. Something I have been thinking about for several months and made it my secret New Year's resolution was that I need to work harder on building relationships. Yes, I can organize, yes I can lead small groups, yes, I can lead women's events, but is that what really matters? What really matters are relationships. My resolution is to not rush through life and my "to-do" list but to stop and really look people in the eyes and talk to them. So I guess it's not a secret anymore. If I stop and jabber to you and keep you from doing something important, sorry! It's just me trying to build more relationships- THINGS THAT MATTER.