Saturday, September 11, 2010

Showers of Grace by Della Melton

My sweet friend, Della Melton, passed away last week. Her funeral was Friday morning. She was 95 years old.

During the past several years, I’ve had the privilege of praying for Della--especially when she’d break her bones. She told me she was born with brittle bones, and through the years osteoporosis set in. I think every bone in her body has been broken at one time or another.

Often I’d call Della while I was out and about and ask if she needed anything from the store.
“Buttermilk,” she’d say. “And not that fat free stuff, I want the real thing. And cheese puffs.” She loved cheese puffs. She asked me once how cheese puffs could be bad for her when they were nothing but puff.

Do you know how much we can learn from a person as old as Della? She had hundreds and hundreds of stories to tell. I think I heard all of them And recorded several.

Della and I talked about writing her life story but by the time she got ready to actually do it, I was involved in another project and couldn’t help much more than proof and edit. It turned into quite a challenge, but eventually “hit the Lake Charles bookstands” under her title of Showers of Grace. You can find a copy at the Christian Book Store on Prien Lake Road.

Della gave me my first ghost writing opportunity. She called me once and told me she needed to write a devotional and didn’t know how. She asked if I’d do it for her. I didn’t want to “do it”—I wanted it to be 100% hers so we talked it through. I asked what her favorite scripture was, what it meant to her and how she prayed it? I just wrote down her words, tweaked them and she had a devo for the Women’s Ministry devotional book. She was proud of it.

Her favorite scripture was 2 Corinthians 12:9 – God’s grace. "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." She always told me if a person really wants peace and happiness at any age, He’ll give it. His grace is sufficient.

One day Della met some friends at the mall for lunch and while paying for her meal, she started talking to the young Taiwanese woman who was the cashier. The woman's name is Li and Della asked how long she’d been in this country. Li answered 14 years. Della, always blunt and to the point, asked, “Well are you ready to become an American?” Li said yes but that she didn’t speak English very well. Della made arrangements to meet with the young woman weekly and help her with her English. When Li and her two children moved to another apartment, Della made note of how broken down her sofa was. She went home, looked at her own nice sofa on her sun porch and thought, “I don’t need that.” She got some friends to load it up and take it to Li, and made certain the old sofa hit the dumpster. :)

Some days I’d go over and she’d say, “I spent time crying this afternoon. It’s not hard for me to cry. There are a number of things that make me cry.”

Della Melton was a force to reckon with. She was head strong with a generous heart. She had lots of stories and books in her that were shared with many of us, but never written... except for her autobiography. And there's only so much you can "afford" to put in an autobiography.

Do you know how much we can learn from a 95 year old person? From our grandparents or our own parents. We’re losing stories. We’re losing history.

We’re losing.

I'm incredibly blessed to have known Della Melton.


Julie Jarnagin said...

Sounds like a wonderful lady!

Carole said...

I hope you did the eulogy at the funeral. You did a wonderful job here.

KarenG said...

What a wonderful post! My mom is 93. When she was turning 90, I wrote Farm Girl to record her story of a young girl growing up on a Nebraska farm. I can't believe I waited so long to do it. We can learn a lot from these older folks who have lived through so much if we only take the time to listen. I'm sorry you lost your friend. She sounds wonderful.

Angie Kay Dilmore said...

Della sounds like an amazing woman. Great post, Jess!

Charles Gramlich said...

She reminds me much of my mother. We have quite a few of her stories that were basicially written by our sister for her. Folks of this age have seen so much "CHANGE" in their lives.