People say that life is a candle in the wind. A spark is ignited at birth and the flame grows as we do. The oxygen feeds the flame just as our breath gives us life. Then one day, hopefully when our wax has burned low, our light is extinguished; snuffed out by the wind. The scent lingers for awhile, but eventually it too fades away as we become a memory. The intent of this comparison is to hammer home the idea that every life is brief and we must seize every moment with abandon, for we do not know when the wind will blow our way. Taking stock of how we live our lives is never a bad idea. However, this analogy rings hollow when you have met someone like Elizabeth Rudeseal, one of the senior adults at our church. The sparkle in her blue eyes burned brighter than any candle. She had a glow about her from the inside out, as if she was radiating from within. The source of this illumination? Her love for God; and out of that love a passion for life and people. Overflowing to those around her, just her everyday manner was a testimony of her deeply rooted faith. When holding hands with her husband of 65 years you could witness age drop away as the romance that lasted nearly a century entwined itself upon their hearts. Best friends and sweethearts in love from the beginning.
Miss Elizabeth possessed a gentle soul. It is hard to know if that is what led to her love of children or the other way around. Either way, her desire to bless the children with her stories is a reminder of Jesus himself. Always the teacher, she never forgot the beginning of the school year and long after she retired she still checked in with teachers and children alike to see how things were going.
With her childlike heart she was known to sing Happy Birthday, as she stood facing her honoree with those sparkling eyes. To be on the receiving end of this melody sung so genuinely was at first an uncomfortable event, as the center of such a simple honoring it was humbling. Yet, each year brought a hopeful expectation that she would go to the trouble to seek out her friends in such a way. It was a blessing because the love of Jesus shone in her eyes as she looked into yours. It was as if he was standing there celebrating the day you were created through this devoted little lady. This uncomplicated celebration took all of two minutes but became an anticipated occasion of everyone that received it.
The witness and testimony of her humility flowed out to those around her. And while she will be missed greatly, somehow it seems that she is finally at home in the light that she carried for years. No, her candle was not snuffed out. Quite the contrary, the fire within her spirit only glows brighter now that her earthly body has been removed. She is more like a star than a candle. At home in the heavenly realm where the light of the universe is alive and pulsing through her spirit. She is singing to her Lord and glowing like she could never imagine before. We grieve our loss, but not her gain. We know to whom she went…the lover of her soul…the one that created such a precious one. Miss Elizabeth’s quiet, gentle way will be missed by all. But the smile and the sparkle will continue to blaze as they radiate the glory of the God with whom they now commune.