There are those rare people who touch your life in ways that change you forever. My friend Peggy’s mother was one such woman. Peggy’s mom, Melva Bolhofner entered Heaven’s glory this past Mother’s Day, and although weeks and months have passed I want to take a few sacred moments and share with you the difference she made in my life.
Shortly after John and I moved to Chicago I fell into a dark season of depression. Everything was a struggle, but the greatest struggle of all was leaving my house to be around happy people. So, when our family was invited to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a large group of new friends, I dug in my heels and said no. John dug his heels in deeper and said yes.
I was terrified everyone could see the pain in my heart etched on my face. So, I did what many depressed people do, I hid. Or at least I tried.
I chose to take up residence at the dinner table beside Peggy’s mom. I figured I could keep her company, and she wouldn’t mind if I wasn’t terribly talkative.
The three hours I sat with Peggy’s mom restored my soul. She allowed me to sit with her in that space and simply be present. She did not demand anything from me. Rather she poured love into my life with the gift of storytelling.
She shared funny stories about Peggy and beamed with pride as she talked about her grandson. She shared stories about her life and love. Her words reminded me what joy and hope looked like.
The hug she gave me at the end of the evening and her whispered thank you for spending my evening with her began a slow change toward healing in my life. Peggy’s sweet mother showed me that giving of myself was key to getting out of my pit.
It is a lesson I will never forget.
From then on, each time I had the privilege of being in Melva’s presence I made certain she knew that I saw her, that she was beautiful and that her joy was my joy. I always gave her the biggest- yet gentlest- hug imaginable.
I never told her why, and truthfully I am OK with that. I know that she knows now. I know that she received a crown of glory for the radiant love she shared that night. I also know she threw it down in worship at out Savior’s feet before standing up in his presence and dancing with joy. I know that she looks down at each of us now with that great cloud of witnesses cheering us on to the finish line.
Oh, that we could live life with as much grace and joy!
Melva Bolhofner truly was, as Peggy called her, a rose. Her sweet fragrance lingers still.