A Beautiful, Flourishing Palm Tree
Psalm 92 was the appointed reading for the day and I smiled as I read the last verses. Gloria Staley went home to Jesus in the wee hours last Saturday morning and I testify that these words fit her well.
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
Gloria was a righteous person, planted securely in the house of God. She was made righteous by God through her faith in Christ and she loved righteousness as a result. The palm tree reference is especially appropriate as that girl absolutely loved sunshine and could never get enough of it. When she couldn’t stand another day of our clammy Northwest winters, she and Len would head down south to find a sun that actually warmed you up.
Despite wishing for more heat, Gloria flourished in the courts of God. She was a fixture in our Saturday evening family and countless people looked to her as a mom or grandma. One of the great perks of coming to church early was getting to grab a seat by her and enjoy another helping of her delightful humor, refreshing honesty, and genuine love. Getting to church was slow and difficult in these last months, but her spirit was fresh and green and she was bearing fruit, even in her old age.
I saw this firsthand as her family gathered around her bed at Legacy Medical Center. A combination of health problems had made it clear the end was at hand, but she had time to gather her loved ones. God blessed her with full strength and clarity, despite her oxygen mask, to express love to each one, mixed with her trademark humor. Each word spoken was treasured more than gold as she sought to help each of them on their continuing journeys.
Finally, it was time, and she asked to have the mask removed. It was wonderful to see her beautiful face free of obstruction. She enjoyed a bite of vanilla ice cream, inviting everyone else to have some as well, and then settled down into a peaceful sleep. A few moments later she woke in the courts of the Lord.
Gloria had a clear testimony that God is her Rock, and her family would like to invite you to help celebrate her life with them. A celebration of life will be on Friday, September 14, 6pm at Evergreen Bible Church. If you would like to help provide some finger food, or help set up or clean up for the reception after, please volunteer here. God is good.