Monday, September 21, 2009

Life Begins at Fifty?! Who would have thought!!

Last night I heard a woman speak whose life in many respects began at 48. I was so impressed with her story, I wanted to share it with you.

Many years ago she immigrated to the U.S. from Greece with her two young daughters. Immediately she was hired by Georgetown University to be a professor in their dental school and she had a private practice as well.

What she didn't know was her life was about to change in ways she had never imagined.

Like most Greeks, she belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church, so when her 14 year old daughter developed a crush on the Osmond brothers and decided to get baptized, she was furious and refused to give permission for the baptism. She felt that falling in love with a celebrity was no reason to change religions and insisted her daughter give it up.

Yet over the course of the next four years, her daughter persisted, and so after numerous sets of full-time missionaries, ward missionaries and bishop visits, she relented and allowed her daughter to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On the day of the baptism the church was filled with people all over the stake, including the stake presidency, who had all come to witness the miracle of the change in the very mean mother.

Although still opposed in principle to the baptism, it was during the service the real miracle occurred. As she knelt before the font to watch, her heart turned to God in prayer for strength to endure what was happening. At that moment the spirit touched her heart and let her know that the church was true and what was happening was right. She hurried into the changing room to tell her daughter not to give away her baptismal dress as she was going to need it.

Two weeks later she joined her daughter in the waters of baptism and a short time later her second daughter was baptized as well. And that choice, made at the age of 48, completely changed the direction of her life.

A short time later, she gave up her job and her private practice and moved to Utah to work as a translator for the church. Finances were tight over the next several years as she helped translate many church publications in to Greek, including the Book of Mormon.

She also began working as a volunteer at the Family History Center and has become world renowned for her work in Greek Genealogy, having published several books on the topic.

Currently she is 80 years old and continues to be an amazing woman, diligently working to bring the gospel to her people.

As I sat listening to her, I was so impressed with what she has accomplished in her life. But what really struck me was the thought that her greatest service to others began when she was nearly 50 years old. Thankfully she did not feel at that age that she was too old to change, or to make a difference in the world. Instead she gave up everything worldly that up to that point had been important to her, and followed her heart and the promptings of the spirit. And because of that, not only has her life been a great adventure, but many people have been blessed.

What a great lesson that was for me!! How grateful I am for her example. And now I am so very excited for the next 30 years of my life!! What wonderful challenges, experiences and opportunities will it bring?!!

Ahh, there is still so much of life left and so much more . . . . joy to be found in the journey!

Thought for the day: "The first time I heard the phrase 'anti-aging formula' I thought, 'What's that? Hemlock?' Anything that is anti-aging has to kill you since if you are alive, you are aging. Learn to accept and enjoy the preciousness of life and the fun you can have at any age." Loretta LaRoche


Carolyn said...

What a beautiful story. It is amazing to see what one life can do in such a short span.

I think Kristin reads your blog, she'll love this one.

Momza said...

Wow. There's a lump in my throat sittin here and feeling the love of our Heavenly Father for His children.
What an awesome inspiring testimony.
Wonderful. Thanks for sharing it!

Becky said...

That is a really uplifting story. Sometimes it is hard not to think our best years are behind us. Really we should keep looking forward to the many things we can still accomplish with the Lord's help.

Dave and Camille said...

I loved that! It made me tear up. I'm sad that I wasn't there for it. Thanks for the story and great lesson!

Shannon said...

Great story and post! I am enjoying getting older, though I have a little bit to go before 50. Sure does make the upcoming a series of adventures and good works to look forward to.

Christina said...

See -- getting old isn't so bad, is it? And you're a long way from fifty! Thanks for sharing that story.

Jenny-Jenny said...

Wonderful Story. How, when and where... I guess we just always need to be working, listening and paying attention so that we can be ready and willing to "do it".

JUST ME, THE MOM said...

I DO love this one! It's very inspiring. Thank you for sharing this great example. I really appreciate the thoughtful comments you left me earlier also - thank you so much.