On this day after the official day of giving thanks, I would like to tell you about a lady I met a long time ago. She knew how to live in that place of constant praise, in spite of losing everything. Her name was Gertrude. Gertrude means “spear” and “strength”.
It’s always a glorious day in the Lord.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I met Gertrude in a nursing home in Blaine. I had gone there to meet my friend, Daphne, one of the staff members of the nursing home, for lunch. I took a seat in the foyer to wait for her. Gertrude sat across from me in a wheelchair. She had only one leg. I said something to her about the weather and I don’t remember if the weather was good or bad, but the Gertrude answered, “Oh, it’s always a glorious day in the Lord!”
Wow, I thought. Here is someone I need to get to know. I moved over next to her and introduced myself. She told me her name and that she had lived in Blaine a long time.
“You might remember my grandparents,” I told her, “Mary and Myron Terry.”
“Oh,” she exclaimed. “I knew your grandmother! She painted a head of Christ for me.”
“I remember when she did those,” I said. “She made one for my sister, too.”
“I used to have it hanging in front of where I sat and did my quiet time,” she said. “I loved that picture. But I don’t have room for it here.”
“What happened to it?” I asked.
“I think my kids gave it to the church when they took my apartment apart.”
“When did they take your apartment apart?”
“A month ago,” she said. “I started having some heart trouble and had to go to the hospital. While I was there I got this problem with my leg and they had to amputate it. That’s why I had to move here.”
“Oh, dear,” I said, “you lost your leg just a month ago? That must be so hard for you.”
“The hardest part about losing my leg,” she said, “was that they couldn’t give me a general anesthetic when they did it because of my heart. So I was awake! I couldn’t really feel what they were doing, though.”
“Oh, dear,” I said again. “I am so sorry. What a rough time you have had .”
“Oh, it’s not so bad,” she said. “The only thing I really miss is my large print Bible. I don’t know what my kids did with that.”
“Well I am sure we could find you a large print Bible around here somewhere!” I said.
“It wouldn’t do me any good. My glasses are broken anyway.”
Gertrude told me all of this, after she had started by our conversation by saying, “It’s always a glorious day in the Lord!” She had lost her leg, her home, her independence, her portrait of Jesus, her quiet time place, her Bible and her glasses!! I am not even sure what order of importance she might have given to all those losses.
She amazed me. She became my hero, and my friend. I visited her often after that—whenever I came to the nursing home to meet Daphne.
Daphne got her glasses fixed for her, and found her a large print Bible.
I went to the church and found the head of Christ my grandmother had painted. I took a snapshot of it. (This was long before we had digital cameras). I had a tiny print made and put it in a little frame. She carried that picture in her pocket for the rest of her life. The picture she gave to me I will also carry for the rest of my life.
Update March 20, 2017
I just added a snapshot of the picture my grandmother painted. Just today I received the picture from a friend who received it from the church where it had been hanging since Gertrude had to give up her apartment about 25 years ago. My grandmother painted in in about 1953. Thanks be to God that he care about things like this and the picture is now in our family. Thank you Nancy Dement for sending it to me!