By Betty Slade | PREVIEW columnist
As days of life gain on us, our strength wanes, our minds forget and I wonder what I will leave behind for others. Hopefully, my good words will rest upon the hearts of my children and a good word will find its way upon my children’s lips to enrich generations to come.
The life of another person will enrich us — a true enrichment gained by having touched that person’s life. How can they do that? It’s their attitude that marks who they are and what they have done. Their walk points to the way to go and where we will soon walk ourselves.
I have had some very strong role models in my life. Edith Graham is one, 13 years my senior. I find great trust in who she is. She tells me she only sees God in people. She can look into their eyes and see God. Have I done that in my life? No. I’ve seen what I wanted to see, not how God sees them. I still have much to learn from her.
I’ve never heard a negative or accusing word, only love, from her mouth toward anyone. As I sought Edith’s friendship, I learned how and what I aspire to be in my later years.
Strong in faith, sharp in mind, her determined but fragile body lounges in her chair as she projects a beautiful smile. Her eager eyes look to take in everything around her.
She celebrated her 94th birthday recently. Eighty children in all claim her as mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Blessed to live in proximity, her children know the depth of her spiritual life by the way she treats them, what she thinks of life and how she gives her life for them.
She is the center of her family, a voice of their era, the root from whom they come. I have watched her family up close and how they treat her. So much respect they show her, so much care they give her, with a pride she has placed in their hearts for family. Her beauty is not how unusual she is, but how full her life is and how she has graciously received what life has given her. She lives with energy bestowed upon her with a thankful heart.
Her legacy will not end at the end of her days. She has added to every moment a model to live by. Not only to her family but also to her writer friends, 30 in all. Edith delights our group each week with her presence and her writing. She is the oldest member.
Even in her last years, Edith still writes. She has written books for her children, poems and more poems. She shared a poem she penned this week. We were stunned to think at 94, she wrote about renewing her vows to God. Her life brings a challenge to all of us, to be determined to live our best days at the end of our days and finish strong.
Edith wrote “Renewing Vows.” “Inspired by nature’s beauty and my mother’s worship, I asked for understanding, I vowed to praise Your name in verse each day. Faithful, you gave both pain and joy, intricate dances of relationships.
“I was unfaithful to my vow — caught in the whirling pool of life, I failed to pay the price I set. Your praise, warmth, love so dear to me — My need to know you grows so, I must renew my vow. God let me know if you allow a foolish person to renew her vow.”
Final brushstroke: We celebrated her birthday as her poem was read that morning and were smitten in our hearts. As the veil is slightly being lifted day by day, where time and eternity meet, she is a reminder we must seek to love and finish strong.
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