• 36°

Robin Gudal: Friends make us better people

EN(dur)ANCE by Robin Gudal


I have a friend who makes me a better person. I hope you have a person in your life like that. She is an amazing woman in her 90s and the definition of humility, gentleness, kindness and love. I have a handful of such amazing people in my life, but today I focus on one.

She has walked through a handful of life’s hardest situations and has used these messy parts of life to love others more. She taught me not to knee-jerk ask, “How are you?” when someone is struggling through a hardship. We often automatically ask such questions or we talk about the weather, instead of being real and vulnerable with one another.

Robin Gudal

It took me a few times of asking and her gently saying, “Robin, please don’t ask me that.” Oh, how I appreciate her patience and love toward me to teach me an important lesson in human interaction.

She has a sweet and amazing laugh; one that makes you laugh, and then she laughs at your laugh — the joy and laughter continues. On more than one occasion I feel like we’ve sat and just laughed and then needed a moment to recover from our laughter.

When she had a milestone birthday, I wrote her a note; one where I laid out my heart and soul in appreciation and admiration to her. So often we have thoughts toward someone we admire and yet never communicate it; so, I did. You need to understand this woman has a sense of humor, which I grow in appreciation for each time I experience it. Soon after I sent this card, I saw her.

“Robin, can I talk to you?” is how she opened our interaction, to my recollection. “Thank you for the note,” she continued.

“Of course,” I said. “I just wanted you know how I felt, and I meant it all!”

With a grin on her face she continued, “I just wanted you to know that my family lives a long time and I am not dying soon!”

I love that story, and I am so glad for those longevity genes, because she is one of my favorite people!

She is a tea friend and I always look forward to gleaning insight from her. I once asked her for insight when I was going through a bump in life; I literally leaned in for her wisdom and insight. It was so simple and yet it is a sustaining truth I carry with me. Just trust! She shared that earlier in her life, when needing insight herself, someone shared a few Bible verses. She shared that she leans upon those truths through the thick and thin fragments of life.

One of those verses is Philippians 4:13, New International Version: “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”

Robin (Beckman) Gudal, intentional in life, is a wife, momma, nana, friend, and a flawed and imperfect follower of Jesus.