I got to know my elderly friend, Trudy, the last 8-10 years of her life. I started visiting with her to help out her son and daughter-in-law with whom she lived in a mother-in-law apartment attached to the main house; but it wasn’t long before I looked forward to my weekly visits with her just for the enjoyment I took in her friendship and wisdom.
The first couple of times I sat in her apartment with her, Trudy started spilling out the stories of her lifetime. She took me on a memory trip with her to her farm in NW Pennsylvania when she was just a teenager. I heard about how she met her husband and how three months later, they married. Through the narration of the joys and pains of her early adulthood, I got to know some of what had made her the woman she was in her late 80s and early 90s. She shared with me how she had grown in the Lord over her lifetime, the markers the Lord had left and the things He had used to change her into His Image.
In those early days of my visits, we sometimes went mall walking or shopping at a couple of her favorite stores. I learned that she had a love of fine china and still enjoyed looking for a new blouse. As the years past, Trudy became less able to take our Wednesday morning trips out, so we transitioned to me reading to her out loud, something we both looked forward to as we discovered an enjoyment for classic fiction.
Wuthering Heights, Peace Like a River were delights to both of us, but our favorite was David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, a classic neither she nor I had read. It’s a long book, but most Wednesdays when we sat down to pick up where we had left off, she would say, “well, let’s find out how our boy is doing today!” The memory of her voice still brings a smile to my face.
Trudy has been popping up on my Amazon Alexa Show lately which “randomly” scrolls through all the pictures I’ve taken on my phone over the last 12 years or so. Each time I see her face, I’m reminded that she’s one of those people I look forward to seeing again. But in this life Trudy taught me something about graciousness and contentment, laughter and delight and never being too old to make new friends.
I don’t think Trudy ever knew how the Lord used her to encourage me through her honesty, forthrightness, grace in aging and through the spilling out of all her stories. As I’ve reflected on the time she and I spent together, I’ve realized that those stories she spilled out were so much more than a narrative. They were small treasures, each one to be mined for gems, both lasting and brilliant.
Likely there will come a day when I’ll have the opportunity and desire to spill out the stories of my own life. If they hold just a fraction of the beauty and wisdom I found in Trudy’s stories, I’ll know then that the Lord has used me well.
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