I've heard it said that you will meet five pivotal people in your life. These people make a deep impression on you, influencing how you live. My friend Grace is one of my five. We met in college.... Actually, I was in college and Grace was auditing our Spanish class. She sat behind me and we soon became friends. Six years later we still meet for tea and last week we went to the Art Institute of Chicago together with my mom and sister. Below I've shared some pictures from our day exploring the museum and five things my dear friend, Grace, has taught me.
Isn't she so classy and beautiful?
There are many things I love about Grace. She is fun, smart, caring and has influenced so many people with her kind heart. Here are a few things I have learned from her example.
1. Get good at making something yummy, then make it often and share it often. Whenever I go to Grace's house we have raisin bran muffins. We have made them together on a few occasions, but usually she has them ready to go with a hot cup of tea. I know I am not the only one she shares them with. She tutors a refugee family and makes muffins weekly with one of the young teenage girls, using the recipe and process to teach the girl English. The afternoon that we went to the Art Institute we shared a picnic lunch in the museum cafe and Grace brought her muffins along to share! They are delicious and such a symbol of her generosity, warmth and caring nature.
2. Keep learning, it makes you interesting! Grace has two masters degrees and she taught English and Literature for many years. She also received the Fulbright scholarship when she was younger, so she taught abroad in Holland. At
93 91 years old, Grace is still an avid reader. She keeps up with events happening on campus (she lives near the college), she attends lectures, missions meetings, concerts etc...When we were driving into the Art Institute she was telling me how she loves to get books on cd from the Library and how she had been working through a series of C.S. Lewis' works, taking her dinner in her living room and listening while she eats. She has lent me books to read and she always has interesting things to share. She is an incredibly interesting person.
3. Show people you care by asking thoughtful questions about their lives. Grace always remembers things that I have told her and she asks me about them later on. Something with my husband's work, a recipe I've tried, a trip I have taken, she always asks and listens intently. She gives advice when I ask, but often she just listens and shares an encouraging word. I want to foster this care and concern for others in my own life.
4. Send real snail mail, say thanks. Grace has sent me the sweetest, most sincere notes in the mail. After we do things together, she writes a note of thanks. After our museum outing last week, I received a sweet card. What an encouragement. It has made me want to send more snail mail to people in my life I am thankful for.
5. Finally, put on a pot of tea and invite a friend over. Our frienship grew out of simple gatherings for tea. We didn't do many extravagant things together, we simply met and had tea (and raisin bran muffins!) :) Often it was last minute, I'd give her a quick call and stop by, but she'd have the kettle going. Emilie Barnes said it so well:
I know Grace would say that she has been so blessed and that the Lord has done amazing things for her, not wanting to take any credit. She is a devoted follower of Jesus. She lives to proclaim His great love, not only with words, but through her very life. She is beautiful and inspiring.