Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
Unfortunately I had to say goodbye to my “ordinary saint” last year after her year-long fight with glioblastoma brain cancer. I’m not sure that others close to her would think of her as a saint—definitely a sweet and fun person, but not to that elevated status of a saint because she was so “down-to-earth.” It was this relaxed, positive, accepting approach to others that made her saintlike in my eyes. She cared deeply for others and brought hope to those around her with enthusiasm and love up until the day she died. I knew that there was something different about her when we were talking one night after her husband died (five years prior) and she was encouraging me as I dealt with a difficult work situation. She had just lost her husband yet she was supporting and encouraging me!!
I realized then that her openness to God and care for me allowed her to be used by God to be a blessing to me and many others in her life. As a psychologist in a relatively small town, it can be difficult to make close friends who can just be friends, without slipping into therapist-client dynamic or a colleague-like relationship. We all need a good friend who lets you be yourself all the way. We had fun together, lots of laughing, planning activities for our kids, and sharing our love for our church family. I miss her every day, but I see that same resilient spirit in her son who is now part of our family and blesses me with her same sense of humor each and every day.
I think Susan was an “ordinary saint,” because she loved others without conditions and she spent her life encouraging the preschool children she taught, her own children in their development, and her friends in their own personal struggles to help lighten their load even though she was already carrying a heavy load of her own.
Thank you God for bringing “ordinary saints” into our lives. Help us to recognize you working through these special people to bless us each and every day. Thank you, in particular, for modeling love and encouragement of others in all that you do. Amen.
About the Contributor
Dr. Maggie Gainey is a clinical psychologist by profession but more importantly she is a mom to three special boys and the wife to a very loving, compassionate husband. She serves as an Elder at Covenant, with her efforts focused on the church’s children and youth and worship.