Senior saints make great mentors, and Aunt Ludy was one of mine. No, she wasn’t my real aunt. She just wanted her younger friends to call her that.
I first met Aunt Ludy in the senior adult Sunday School class at Pleasant Valley South in Lindale, Georgia. In the year 2000, her 1940’s look with her little white gloves and hand-made dresses reminded me of Sweet Polly Purebred. The fact that she topped off her look with a Marilyn Monroe wig startled my sensibilities. I had to get to know this woman.
Even though she was twenty years older than I, our friendship grew. She became one of my spiritual mentors. She’d read her Bible cover to cover every year since the printing press started churning them out, so I figured she had all the answers. Besides, she’d already rewritten the entire Bible and had a friend type it for her. I called it the ALV–Aunt Ludy Version.
She enjoyed searching the Scriptures, answering my questions, and recommending books for me to read. She even gave me a copy of Arthur W. Pink’s Gleanings in Genesis.
Aunt Ludy and I enjoyed lively and sometimes deep discussions. She said my questions made her think.
We laughed a lot, too. After I got to know her pretty well, I told her she reminded me of Sweet Polly Purebred in a Marilyn Monroe wig. She raised her delicate hand to her lips and said, “You make me blush.”
Those chats with Aunt Ludy were like salted mines that always yielded spiritual nuggets and life lessons that stuck with me. I especially remember the time I joined her in the common room of her building to work a jigsaw puzzle. As we searched the table for just the right piece of the puzzle, our conversation turned to “witnessing.”
As if on cue, the lady mail carrier stopped by to say, “Hello.” When she continued down the hall, I asked Aunt Ludy if the mail lady was saved.
She said, “I don’t know if she is or not.”
“Well, don’t you think you should find out?” I asked. My boldness usually elicited an equally bold reply.
“No,” she said.
Shocked by her swift and negative response, I tried to create a sense of urgency in her.
“What if she steps onto that elevator, and it crash-lands and kills everyone in it?”
“Well…” she said without finishing her sentence.
I sat dumbfounded by her apparent lack of caring. Then I realized that I was just sitting there, too, with my imagination running wild.
What if the elevator really crashed? What if she really dies? What if she goes to hell because I didn’t witness to her? What if I’m her last chance to hear the Gospel? How can I live with her blood on my hands?
I bolted from my chair and hurried to the elevator.
“Excuse me,” I said, “do you live in this neighborhood or do you just deliver the mail here?”
The mail lady looked at me curiously without responding, so I continued. “I just wanted to invite you to church if you don’t already have a church home.”
She smiled and said, “I do have a church home, but I haven’t been much lately.”
“God surely does miss you,” I said. “Why don’t you go this Sunday? You’re saved aren’t you?”
“Yes, I am…” Her voice trailed off as she lowered her head.
“Then I know God really misses you. Why don’t you talk to Him about it?”
Just then the elevator door opened, and she made a quick exit.
I walked back to the table amazed at my reaction.
“She’s saved,” I said, feeling relieved.
“Good,” Aunt Ludy responded without looking up.
I sat down to look for another piece of the puzzle. But, not willing to let the subject drop, I asked, “Why haven’t you ever talked to her about her salvation?”
Aunt Ludy studied the piece in her hand, reached across the table and firmly snapped the piece into place as she said, “Because I wasn’t the one convicted. You were.”
Wham! Wisdom landed a blow.
God didn’t command me to tell others to witness; God commanded me to witness, “making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil,” (Ephesians 5:16).
And Jesus said not to put it off. Don’t procrastinate. “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest,” (John 4:35).
Senior saints have fields wisdom and life lessons ripe for the picking too. And I’m so thankful for the time Aunt Ludy allowed me to glean the fields of her learning.
Rest in peace, Aunt Ludy.