"Welcome to my blog space. I believe that God has carefully placed gems in our paths to fill our days with joy. The challenge for us is to take the time to notice them. My desire is to share the gems in my life so that, hopefully, you will see the ones He's placed in yours. I hope what you read here will be worth your time and you'll want to return often." - Cathy

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What a Friend we Have in Jesus

My favorite picture of
Ruth Thompson Brown
My friend of 40+ years, Ruth Thompson Brown, passed away in her sleep on August 30, 2014. A determined woman, independent in her thinking and a little quirky around the edges, she made me smile. She lived a colorful and fruitful life. She taught school for 48 years before retiring. At 99 years old, she had lived more history than most of us have read about. I joked with her one day saying, “You didn’t have to study history, Mrs. Brown; you lived it!” She chuckled and said, “I guess you’re right.

Ruth loved people and saw the potential in them. Using unconventional teaching methods, she was able to teach many who had already been counted out by the system. I think they knew she loved them and wanted them to be successful. Ruth and I met when her Granddaughter, Lorie, and my daughter, Nanci, were in Kindergarten. Lorie invited Nanci to go swimming and when I dropped Nanci off at Lorie’s Grandma Ruth reassured me that she would see that they were safe.

Nanci had a watch on and, in her excitement, jumped into the pool before taking it off. It quit working immediately. Mrs. Ruth felt compelled to have it fixed. After a week, she went to pick the watch up at the jewelers only to find that he couldn’t fix it. Mrs. Brown’s reply, with eyes sparkling, was, “I know a man of your caliber and talent can fix this watch, so I am going to leave it another week. I know when I come back next week, it will be fixed.” And it was!

Ruth loved God, her church, and its people. She thought everybody ought to have a church. It troubled her that “people just flat out won’t go.” When she invited someone and they showed any interest at all, she would call them early on Sunday mornings to see 

Gilboa United Methodist Church
Rutherfordton, NC
if they were up and getting ready. That’s how she got the Crowder family involved in Gilboa United Methodist Church, her church home. She faithfully played the piano there and directed the Charge Choir for oodles of years. If she didn’t think the congregation or the choir was singing with all the gusto they could muster,

she’d stop playing, stand up next to the piano as tall as she could stretch her 5’3” frame, and say, “Look-a here. I think you can do better than that.” And the second time, we did!

Ruth loved her family. You could see it in her eyes; sense it in her spirit. She shared their successes with glee and, being a realist, she shared their failures with sadness. She loved that she could help the ones she could and she wore herself out trying to figure out how to help the ones who had more potential than they were using. I loved the family stories she shared with me. She was four when they moved by horse and buggy to the house she lived in until her death. She loved to garden so, while others cooked and cleaned, she worked outside with her father and brothers. Almost totally vegetarian (she would occasionally eat some sausage or bacon), she had a passion for fresh vegetables which carried over from her childhood.

The last time I saw her, she woke from her pain medicine induced sleep enough to look at me and smile and say, “I love you. . . . . all the time.” I said the same to her, and she lapsed back into her slumber. I sat next to her bed for awhile singing hymns, She lifted her feeble arms and played air piano when I sang “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” her favorite hymn.

I love you, Mrs. Brown . . . . all the time.  Thank you for loving me.

Going out with joy today, thanking God for a blessing like Mrs. Brown-