Do you have a friend that inspires you to greatness? I have an older pen pal friend who did that for me.
Louise and I met through genealogy. She heard of my family book, "A Godly Inheritance," and that it contained Friesens, so she wrote to order a copy. In no time we were corresponding like new pen pals, and revealing more and more of our lives to each other. (So far we have not proved that we're related - but it must be).
As a young woman, Louise, like her sister Margaret, had to go to the city to find employment to help out the parents on the home farm. They both ended up at the Lethbridge hospital kitchen and worked faithfully for many decades.
They found a basement suite close by for their living accommodation, but Louise had a car, and they always went home on weekends or days off to help with the harvest and work at the farm near Tabor. When the elderly couple died, from whom they were renting the basement apartment, they discovered that the house had been left to them in their will!
Knowing Louise as I did, I'm not surprised. She was always ready to go the extra mile to help out others, and to do more than they ask - like giving a cup of water, and then watering all your camels too.
The two close sisters reached retirement age. They still drove out to help their brother who had inherited the farm, but now they were able to travel. Usually it was a trip to B.C., as well as trips to visit various other relatives across the prairies. In B.C. they would circle through the fruit valleys, and fill up the car with boxes and crates of fresh picked fruit, then go home and make jams and preserves steadily for days and weeks, until all those precious treasures were stored for winter dining and for gifts.
Margaret gradually failed in health, losing her mind by degrees, so that Louise has had to take on all the work and all the responsibility. Mind you, she still took Margaret out for rides and in public, unashamedly, as long as her sister was able to go. Margaret died a few years ago, tenderly loved to the end by her loyal sister Louise.
In March, 1999, Dad and I went on a weekend trip to visit some of his cousins at Lethbridge, and one over the American border. In my heart I hoped to slip in a brief visit to Louise as I'd really like to meet this pen pal in person after several years of corresponding.
On the Sunday, while we were in Montana, there was a huge snowstorm back in Lethbridge. I persuaded myself when we got back and I saw the deep, slushy snow, that it would be prudent to delay our departure for home on Monday morning long enough to stop in to see Louise. In fact, it would give the snow plows a chance to get ahead of us on the highways. Louise had lent me a bundle of books by mail and I would return them.
I phoned ahead to get directions. I still ended up stuck in some slush in mid-street and was helped by strangers.
By the time we were at her door, Louise had prepared, not for a five-minute visit, but at least two hours! She brought out family albums, she'd prepared another bag of books to loan me, and had brought up jars of preserves, and made hamburgers and a full lunch. And we talked and talked, and talked!
Knowing we had a eight-hour trip home, I managed to work us to the car about noon, loaded down with goodies and snack food, and books! It was fantastic.
I was impressed; as was Dad. The joy of the Lord shone from Louise, together with boundless love and grace in giving and giving that never stops. "Lord, I want to be like Louise!" I prayed most of the afternoon on the highways. "Now I've met someone who gives the way I've always wanted to!"
Various times when I've been in need of financial aid, the Lord is the only one I would tell that too. Then He would chosen Louise to be the one to write me and tuck in a large bill of money.
In more recent years, Louise saw the death of two of her older brothers. Her younger brother John sold the farm and moved into her house in Lethbridge. They began to travel together and came to visit Dad and me once in Hague. What a lovely visit.
Then, three years ago when I was settling into my very own little green house here in the city, Louise and John came to visit me again. They brought lots of practical gifts and then insisted on kidnapping me from my day to take me shopping and spend the day with me. What a treat!
I aspire to be a generous, joyous, and faith-filled woman like Louise.
Last night John phoned to tell me that Louise had gone to the hospital on Sunday afternoon. Her difficulty breathing had just become worse and worse. She had continued to converse with him, and exclaim with praises to God in the midst of her fading life. She died in the evening.
This morning I got to thinking that when she passed through the door called Death on Sunday, she must have been greeted by many jubilant family and friends, and of course, our dear Lord Jesus. I can just picture her exclaiming with delight and praise at everything. It is all far better and more bountiful than she imagined! Louise may even be at loss for words!
I know the same God she worshipped, and it is just like Him to wow us with His blessings and good surprises. He would be totally out of character if Heaven were not many times better than this earth with its beauties and wonders. I just know I shall get to hug her again! I only hope I can be more like her on this side yet.
Are your friendships important to you? You'll want to read the first eight chapters of the book or order it in either softcover or e-book formats, Ruthe's Secret Roses.
Or, the softcover from BookLocker
Ruth Marlene Friesen
The Responsible One
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Ruthe's Secret Roses (official site)
©2001-2022 Ruth Marlene Friesen
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada