First impressions don’t always count


C.Esther DeWolde

Have you ever met or known someone you hope you never get stuck with at a party? Or even worse, stuck in a car on a long drive out of town? You know, the kind of person that puts your back up the moment you meet them?

And have you ever been spectacularly wrong? Talk about a misjudgment.

Yes, this is a set up to introduce my next Person of Influence.

Pretty unbelievable then, that 25 years later Geraldine (you have to say it with a heavy Dutch accent just because it’s fun to bug her) became a very dear friend, mentor and partner in all volunteer-related things at church.  So here’s a word of caution to all you young married women. If you are forced to hang out with that annoying wife of your husband’s best friend, chin up! She could be your next best friend.

Her influence runs so deep with me.

At eight years older and wiser than me – I learned so much from her. Not on the domestic front as much but more in the deep meaningful areas of life – and why having faith mattered. How to love the unlovables, the down n’ outers, and those plagued with mental illness.

Through her enthusiasm I got heavily involved in all things community with our church, teaching Vacation Bible School, running the evangelism program, Alpha with her and even creating an annual Adventure Fair for our church neighborhood kids.

None of these things held interest for me until she came along.

I realize now how contagious certain people’s attitudes can be. If that’s not inspiring enough I don’t know what is.

Before I knew it, our families were vacationing together, hanging out on weekends and just generally blended together. I always said when our two girls were young we had the best deal ever.

Their two girls were of babysitting age, so going to Hawaii or Disneyland was perfect! Thank you Bec & Sarah!  Funny that now the roles are reversed. When our girls come home from college they babysit their children. Ah, the circle of Life.

This is my 16th Person of Influence.

But I waited ‘til now as this past week marks the 12th anniversary of Geraldine’s passing on to glory. It seems like only yesterday that I heard her cackling in the hospital hallway consoling me that her heart surgery would go well and she would see me tomorrow.

In life, we learn that we can’t control what happens to us or when, but we sure can control who our friends are.

I am forever thankful for the friendship of my dear friend Geraldine. Until we meet again.