Someone recently asked me for a recipe for something I made. I had gotten the recipe from a dear friend and little does the person who asked for the recipe know, that I am going to give them the following with the recipe. I always remember this friend when I make her dishes and I like to share what a special person she was.
I first knew Mrs. Bjorbekk as Edwin’s mother. Edwin was my elementary school and Sunday school classmate. He and I were confirmed together in a small class of six.
Mrs. Bjorbekk always had a warm smile and friendly blue eyes. She was proud of her Norwegian heritage and was the only person I ever knew who truly seemed to care about everyone she met.
During my high school years, I stopped going to that church and Edwin and I were no longer in classes together. It wasn’t until more than ten years later that Mrs. Bjorbekk, or Evelyn, as she became to me, reentered my life. I had applied for a job as a part time postal clerk in the small post office of the town that I grew up in. I didn’t know that Evelyn was the clerk there. When she saw me her face lit up and I know it was her good word with the postmaster that got me the job. It’s so hard to believe that was over twenty-five years ago now.
Evelyn was such a wonderful, gentle spirited person and endured many tragedies in her life. She had lost her husband, her house to a fire, and she was later predeceased by a brother and sister and a son who was a young husband and father. Through all the hardships and sorrows in her life, she remained a woman of strong faith.
I have heard many preachers and teachers explain how we should act as Christians, however, no lesson taught me so well as the living example of Evelyn. Working side by side, I saw a true Christian walking the talk. I will always remember one incident when an irate customer came into the office and spewed out all their anger on her. As I was in the background, I could feel my anger growing and I couldn’t believe Evelyn never raised her voice and calmly tried to talk to the person. They kept on ranting. I was thinking of all the things she could be saying to this “horrible” person. I couldn’t believe how mean the customer was to her.
After the customer left, she turned and said, “I feel sorry for him. He must have something terrible going on in his life.” Then, as I had seen her do at work at other times, she closed her eyes and said a brief silent prayer for the person. I was immediately humbled thinking of my own response to the situation. Here I saw the living example of “what would Jesus do?” So many people, like this one, never knew they were blessed by Evelyn’s prayers. She was a reflection of Jesus’ love and I will always remember her for that. She was truly a blessing to all who knew her.
I am glad that I had written Evelyn notes letting her know how I felt about her example. Her daughter later told me that she had saved all the letters that everyone had written her.
A short while after her death, her daughters gave me her Postal clerk bear. They thought she would like me to have it. At that moment we named her Evelyn and I put her on display in the back of the post office keeping an eye on everything. I keep her as a reminder of “what would Evelyn do” which was the shiniest reflection of Jesus love on earth that I have ever seen.