Friday, May 10, 2013

Lessons From the Edge

Unconditional love.

Those are the last words I heard her speak.

And those are the words I witnessed her living out every day.

Gladys was my favorite at Edgewood.
And when I say "favorite", I don't mean one of my favorites.
I mean favorite. In every sense of the word.
As in, there is no one more special to me at Edgewood than her.

Last Friday morning, Gladys went to be with Jesus - where she'd been longing to be.
I am so happy for her! And so sad for those of us who are still waiting.
Because we will all miss her deeply.

I remember the first time I talked with Gladys.
It was my first glimpse at her life of unconditional love.
I was eating lunch at Gladys' table shortly after I started working at Edgewood and asked about her family. When she told me about her son, I remember tears flowing down her cheeks as she recalled the time he said to her, "Mom, thanks for never giving up on me."
I have often thought of that moment when I'm "in the middle" of something with my boys, and I listen to her encouragement. Don't give up on them.

I remember the story she told about the time her granddaughter mentioned that she'd put her husband "in the doghouse". And with a passion all her own, Gladys said, "I told her, 'You go get him out of that doghouse. You should never put your husband there. You LOVE him!'"
Gladys was married to her precious husband for 73 years. She knew what she was saying!

And I will never forget the moments I, myself, was the recipient of Gladys' unconditional love.
Somehow she always knew when I needed encouragement.
I am certain it's because she listened to God so well!
I could be having a rough day, or might be feeling discouraged about something, and then I'd see Gladys and her uncomparable smiling face. Without exception, she had an uplifting, heart-soothing word for me. I always left my interactions with Gladys feeling loved, encouraged, and precious. That's just the effect she had on people.
So it makes perfect sense to me that when I visited Gladys in her dying days, the words she kept repeating were, "Unconditional love. Unconditional love. Unconditional love."
Because that's what she experienced from God, and that's the way she lived.



Sara K. said...

Beautiful and inspiring! She sounds like an amazing woman. I love how God used her to touch your life, and I'm sure MANY peoples' lives!

Karen Hossink said...

Sara - Gladys truly was an amazing woman! :)