One of the most engaging and beautiful women I ever met was my neighbor Margaret Meyers. Mrs. Meyers shared our shady street in Southern California. We met one Christmas while caroling. I still remember her opening her door and greeting us from her wheel chair. As our group sang she sat beaming, holding our six month old daughter.
Did I mention that Mrs. Meyers was in her nineties when we met? You may question my original description of her. But I will argue that she was a beautiful woman. She had the internal, eternal beauty that 1 Peter 3 describes as being precious to God. A beauty that is cultivated from a lifetime of loving – loving God and people.
Mrs Meyers understood that what we do affects others. Her radiant countenance belied the constant pain she suffered from the car wreck that left her crippled. She delighted me with stories of teaching in a one room prairie school house. After sharing supper with us, she would slip her harmonica out from her pocket to play us hymns.
In her late nineties Mrs. Meyers finally agreed that it was time to move into a nursing home. Her blindness and limited movements were jeopardizing her safety. When I visited her, she enthusiastically introduced me to her new friends and home. I learned that she was still playing her harmonica, this time for the one resident older than herself.
She took school plays that she had taught her students in younger years, and directed the nursing home staff in entertaining the rest of the residents. On her one hundredth birthday she recited the Gettysburg address.
Mrs. Meyers was remarkable in many ways but her selfless love and positive attitude set her apart. Despite the constant physical pain, blindness and limitations she could not control, she found strength to control what she could – her attitude and treatment of others. She always encouraged me even though I visited with the intention of cheering her. Her steady consistency affected my life deeply.
What do people see in us? How will we be remembered? I wonder who is watching us and how they are being affected by our lives? I doubt that Mrs. Meyers realized her beauty, or the impact that she was having on this young mother so many years ago. You also are impacting those you encounter.
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