When I was young, I worked in an old folk's home for a while.
My work was voluntary, and so, if people asked me what I was up to, I'd say that I was 'giving the old folks some of my time' - yet how wrong I was! These old folks were giving their time to me! The things I learned from some of those kind and memorable characters!
I recall one elderly lady in particular - everyone called her 'Gladdie' (I'm guessing her real name was Gladys). A tiny little thing she was - but my, how she shone for God!
Gladdie used to say:
"Never wear a frown before lunch-time - and the rest of your day, will go just fine - no matter what!"
The other thing Gladdie used to say was:
"Never go to bed at night without discussing things with God - and try and find at least one thing every day that you can praise Him for. Tell God that you love Him! Tell your family and those around you, that you love them, too!"
Well, Gladdie lived to be 103 years old.
I always knew where she was when I came visiting - I just had to look for the little crowd of people gathered round her - wheel-chairs and Zimmer frames, not a problem! She drew them all up close with her gentle joy and shining happiness.
"What is that Gladys on?" People used to say. But as they got to know her, it didn't take too long to figure Gladdie out.
The secret of a long and happy life, as Gladdie used to say, is just the way you look at things, always out the sunny window, seeking out God's grace.
"Oh! And always read your Bible, just a little every day - it'll keep you apace with what happens in this world, better than any news! Human nature hasn't changed too much in the last couple of millennia on this planet, don't y'know!"
And then she'd smile her 'Gladdie' smile, and she'd give you one of her great, big Gladdie hugs, her tiny, frail arms bent in love around you. And if you looked into those kind, blue, sparkling eyes - well, you knew it, deep inside... As Gladdie herself would gladly tell you:
"The secret of a long and happy life, my dear - is God."
2010 Laura Swindon-Ross. All rights reserved.
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I'm a teacher and Christian writer, currently studying for a Ph.D.