Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Lifetime of Love

I would like to pass along a story about a precious saint we lost a while back, and just give you a picture of some of the Kanner Lake residents you won't see on the blog. There are wonderful people in every corner here, and Elmer and Gloria Hollings are some of the finest.

Elmer and Gloria are what I would call pillars of the New Community Church. They were some of the founding members and are two of the reasons our church is the beacon it is today. Married for 66 years, they displayed such love for each other. Just recently, Gloria told me that one day not long ago Elmer said to her, "Just let me look at you. you're so lovely." Oh my goodness. That brought tears to my eyes. That's what a lifetime of loving someone looks like. A real-life portrait of the Steven Curtis Chapman song, "I Will Be Here."

Elmer was a prayer warrior like no other and could always be counted on to bombard heaven for every need that came to his ear. Having been a frequent guest for breakfast since Hank and I came to Kanner Lake, I know that before breakfast every morning, Elmer and Gloria knelt at their dining room chairs and spent no less than 30 minutes interceding for their family and those others who had come to their attention. In that little retirement apartment, it was a prayer meeting it its own right, and a person would feel they'd actually been to church after breakfast with Elmer and Gloria. Each time I left, Elmer would give me a tender kiss on the cheek and grasp my hand.

Elmer and Gloria haven't been able to come to church at NCC for some time, but when they did, Hank would ask Elmer to give the morning pastoral prayer. He would stand in the second pew, face the congregation and lean on the pew in back of him and lead us in prayer. Elmer had such a beautiful and personal way of talking to God. Every body of believers should have a couple like this to observe and emulate. They exuded God's love to all. I know that today Elmer is rejoicing in the presence of the Lord he loved above all. And I also know that Hank and I both feel we hope to be like Elmer and Gloria when we grow up!

On a side note, it should be mentioned that our sanctuary was PACKED for Elmer's funeral. There were people there who do not attend our church, but they left there with a final picture of Elmer's faith and his love for Gloria. Elmer's work here is done, but heaven is rejoicing in the legacy of his earthly life.

- Janet

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM
I've known some "Elmer and Glorias" in my time. thank God for those special saints who inspire us and make us want to be better than we are.
Posted by Blogger Janet Rubin : 8:54 AM
Yes, my parents were like this. Married for 66 years when my dad died. Loving each other to the last moment. Loving God, too. Mom's still alive and awesome--we just celebrated her 90th birthday. :]
Posted by Blogger ~ Brandilyn Collins : 11:49 AM
Elmer was a great guy. Like Wilbur, he could tell a tale or two in his day. (Except his were all true.)
Posted by Anonymous burt laroy : 12:31 PM
Oh, boy, Burt, you'd better watch out. Wilbur'll be down your throat when he reads this.
Posted by Blogger ~ Bailey Truitt : 12:34 PM
You callin' me a liar, you little pipsqueak?
Posted by Anonymous wilbur : 2:57 PM
People don't realize what a positive contribution couples like Elmer and Gloria make to a community. They are the glue keeping the fabric of life together, when other forces are trying to tear it apart! Thank you for sharing this story with us, as a reminder of the impact we can have on society....
Posted by Blogger Mid Stutsman : 8:09 PM
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