March 12, 2015

Florence by Glynis Belec

his weekend I get to stand before almost a hundred men and women at a church. They want me to speak about hope. They want me to inspire them into action or reflection and they want me to make them laugh and feel good about life. Then they want me to read my story about Florence.

I always worry when people expect me to be funny because I have to be the world's lousiest joke teller. Don't get me wrong - I love a good, clean joke but for the life of me I never remember punch lines or I end up paraphrasing or messing everything up and then it all sounds daft in the end.

So, I am not sure what will happen this weekend on the laughter Richter scale. It seems, sometimes, that the more I am myself, the more funny people find me. I will just listen to where God wants me to go with his words and see what happens. I love speaking about hope these days, though, and I am very glad that I get to take Florence with me to finish off my presentation.

Glynis M. Belec, Student Nurse by John D.G. Latham
Florence was the reason I started to write. I loved to dabble with words when I was younger and my English marks were always good, particularly in composition. My sisters and I would write songs and in private, I would write in my journals and diaries and would carefully create rhyming poems - the funnier, the better. I also loved to pen letters and make up plays. But never in my young life did I ever think of writing as a career option. Then I became a nurse. People told me that I should be a nurse. So I did.  Even though I became a nurse the wrong reasons, I realize now that it ultimately helped me get writing.

Geriatrics was my specialty at the time. It was during my job stint at a local nursing home that I met Florence. Florence had had a stroke. At the time, I remember thinking she was older but I do believe she was only in her 60s. (Age is all relative, right?) She had nasty psoriasis as well as all the typical symptoms of a stroke patient.

My heart would go out to her because she became so frustrated when she wanted to speak but couldn't find the words. She had obviously been a happily married woman because she would show me her photo album and try to communicate her heart as she pointed to pages. Her husband had died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack and she had 'ended up' in a nursing home as a result. She had a good family, but she seemed lost without her husband. Yet, she still had a twinkle in her eye. I wasn't a Christian at the time, but I remember her Bible on her bedside stand. I remember how she would quietly read it and how it calmed her. I saw that twinkle in her eye as a shimmer of hope. I didn't really understand her 'hope' at the time but years, after I came to 'walk in the Way', I wondered and then often thought about Florence.

God soon spelled it out. He laid it on my heart to follow up on that notice at the Bruce County Library - a Writing Contest. So I did.I knew what I was to write about.  My little blue typewriter became my best friend and all of a sudden I had written 6 pages of Florence's story. I ended up winning the county wide contest and I was spurred into action. I took courses. I read books. I kept my ears open for conferences and before I knew it I worked my way into writing a weekly column in our local newspaper.

It's been a journey, but thanks to Florence for giving me cause to write. And thanks be to the Holy Spirit for nudging me in the direction of my heart. It was my beginning.

This weekend, I will share Florence's story, but I won't do it out of vainglory. I will do it because I remember how God opened wide a door. A whole lot has happened in between Florence and the now that I have had the privilege to write about. I can't tell it all but I will share my heart. I will put on my Life Jacket [it's a prop - maybe they will laugh then] and I will talk about hope and joy and laughter and Florence. And my prayer is that God will be glorified through all my noise.



  1. Now, I'm really curious. Who is the real person behind Florence? I'd love to hear more as I love your attitude and your writing style. Thanks, "Florence"!

  2. Yes, like Sharon, I am curious to know more about Florence!

  3. Make it three people who are curious about Florence.

  4. I'm curious about Florence, but I want to see a picture of you speaking to a 100 folk wearing a life jacket! LOL

  5. Add me to the list of those curious about Florence. I love the picture in my mind of you speaking in a life jacket. It's an idea I may need to borrow!

  6. Aah! The mystery is solved. I am sure you will have a delightful, entertaining, and meaningful message to deliver. Those wonderful people in your audience won't know what hit them!

  7. Isn't it beautiful the way God directs us through so many different avenues, yours being through Florence? I LOVE how creative God is and how He knows exactly what it is that will guide us in a path we had not considered before. He is so good.

  8. I'm sure I would enjoy hearing your stories of hope. Blessings!

  9. Very informative how Florence was able to exert such an influence, even in her less capable state. gives hope to us all.
    Thanks Glynis.


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