There have been times in my life when I have encountered some amazing people. I’ve always called those times, receiving orchids from heaven. This week, I came face to face with an orchid experience that was life changing.

I was in a place that I have never been or even heard of for that matter, Ahoskie, North Carolina. A lovely quaint town with one major hotel. The people of the town were just wonderful, full of kindness and a real appreciation for the simpler things in life. It was truly a refreshing experience.

I was in Ahoskie, to support a sister girlfriend of mine, and on the last day of my visit, I had the opportunity to sit down with her grandmother, Momma Odessa! Wow, is the only word I could think of as I was sitting at her feet listening to all the words of wisdom and strength that were pouring forth. Job 32:7 says, “I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.” Her 84 years have and continue to make a solid contribution in her family’s life, not to mention all the friends. Her quick wit had me laughing more than talking, but her points and lessons didn’t miss the mark.

To look at Momma Odessa, one would never think that she was her age as she moved around the room with the greatest of ease. On her face was a look of peace in the midst of the storm that she and the family were facing with the loss of her daughter. It was clear; she was the anchor that held the family together.

The Scripture encourages the older to teach the younger, and having this opportunity drove that home. There is so much benefit to listening and learning from those that have gone before us. We all at times think that we know it all or we are committed to our way or the highway, so much so, that we miss the gifts of the older wiser generation that is amongst us. I am reminded of something my grandmother used to say, “how is just got there, going to tell been there what’s going on.”

Many of us have one or both of our parents, and/or grandparents still with us, which is an immeasurable blessing. The gift of their lives over our lives in many ways is changing. Where they once took care of us, now we are in position to make their lives a little easier. Maybe it is simply stopping in for a visit, or dropping off their favorite meal, or inviting them out for an outing. These are treasured moments that help us to understand who we really are. These are times that are exclusive contributions to our legacy.

I am sure there is an Odessa in your life, in your family, in your church, in volunteer organizations etc. Let’s celebrate the orchids that their lives provide every chance we get. I certainly can’t wait to get back to Ahoskie, there are a few more topics I’d like to cover with Momma Odessa; it’s no telling what she is going to say this time.

Tanya is an inspirational speaker and writer living in Charlotte. You can friend her on Facebook or email her at Read more columns by Tanya Wilson.

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