Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Edel's Story: Don't Waste Time!

He will cover you with his feathers, 
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
-Psalm 91:4

I finished my delicious pie and looked across the table at my friend and hostess for this afternoon coffee visit.  Based on what I knew of her life, I had many questions for her.

"Edel," I asked, "if you could say one thing to the people of the world, what would you say?"

She looked seriously into my eyes and said firmly, "I would tell them...'Don't waste time!  Don't waste time on unimportant things.'  I wasted valuable time," she went on, "I didn't count my blessings when I should have.  I was not grounded with the real important things."

Wow.  I knew this was going to be a heavy conversation.  I met Edel several years ago when she joined my ladies group at church.  Her delightful accent gave away her German heritage and I soon realized that her lovely smile covered some heavy sadness.  Among the first things I ever learned about her was the fact that she and her siblings and their mother had survived the bombing of Dresden in World War II.  I must hear that story, I thought.  I later learned that Edel has been sharing that experience on her own blog at  It's an incredible saga of an amazingly strong mother doing what she had to do to save her children, the youngest of which was a year-old babe in her arms.  Edel was 8 at the time.  I'm not going to go any further into her story here because it is hers to tell.  She has been sharing it bit by bit on her blog using the remembrances of her mother as shared in letters to her children.  I urge you to go there and read it for yourself.  When I asked her what that Dresden memory meant to her life today, she said, "I look back and I see how God guided us through all of that."

Edel grew up and married an American soldier during the Vietnam war.  When she came to America, she didn't know a bit of English.  They had three children and since they moved around a lot she was forced to learn the language.  The marriage eventually ended.  Her beautiful daughter died of a debilitating illness and the daughter's son died of the same condition.  One of Edel's sons is now a disabled veteran.  From the rubble of her beautiful home city of Dresden, Germany, Edel has come to a different life in Florida and marriage to a Christian husband.  Together they are active in their church and Edel paints pretty pictures that adorn the walls of their home.

As I chatted with my friend and looked into her eyes, I realized what keeps her going.  Edel is an overcomer.  Her daughter and grandson passed away after I got to know her and yes...the woman was sad.  She grieved.  She has deep sadness today for her son who has been so wounded by his military service.  His struggles with the VA trouble her greatly.  We all have sadness and troubles in our lives and I think it's good to be reminded by someone like Edel that time is fleeting and each moment is precious.  We have to find a way to keep going and focus on life's important things.

As we said our goodbyes at the end of our visit, I told Edel I appreciated her caution not to waste time and to focus on the important things.  She flashed that bright smile.

"Right...and remember...your last shirt has no pockets!"

Edel Gross