In Memory of Ruth Glaze

In Memory of Ruth Glaze

This week, The Shepherd’s Staff is mourning the loss of our dear Ruth Glaze. Ruth, with the help of her colleagues, helped found The Shepherd’s Staff in 1981 with a vision to bring healing to their community. Words cannot express our grief at losing our beloved colleague and more importantly our friend. As we mourn, we also celebrate Ruth’s beautiful life and the love she shared with so many.

How can I describe Ruth? So many words come to mind- firecracker, gentle, generous, hilarious, feisty, wise, loyal, and nurturing. She was never ever in a hurry, especially when you needed to talk about something. If we ended staff meeting early, that didn’t mean it was time to go. For Ruth, that meant it was time to go around the table and have everyone share, “what you’re up against and what you’re celebrating.” Ruth wanted connection more than anything and had so much joy when our group shared deeply with each other.

The Shepherd’s Staff  will regularly have retreats where we share hardships and joys in our lives. We eat too much food and fellowship with all our families. At my first retreat eleven years ago, Ruth stood up first and said, “Years ago, while I was going through a particularly hard time, I had a choice in front of me, where I could choose to live in anger or joy. I chose joy. Since then, I wake up every day saying ‘Thank you God for this very good day.’” This memory has always stuck with me and encouraged me. Ruth acknowledged the trial, the pain, the hurt feelings of whatever it was, and then leaned into love, gratitude, and compassion. She started every prayer and meeting with this mantra.

Another thing I loved about Ruth (a trait which we both shared), was a love of music. Ruth could play piano and sing with more passion, skill, and vitality than anyone I knew. She would sometimes play a song during meetings that was particularly meaningful to her. Our annual Christmas parties, which consisted of too much food, too much wine and dirty Santa presents, would last well into the night. After all the presents were opened, tummies were full, and crazy stories were told, Ruth, like clockwork, would sit up from her chair and walk straight to the piano, ready to lead us in whatever song popped into her head. Someone else would usually have a guitar in-hand, and the rest of the party would join in singing. I remember how fantastic we sounded.

Ruth was also a caring, compassionate and dedicated therapist. She loved her clients and they loved her. She fought when they needed her to fight, sat and shared space when they needed to grieve, and championed their growth. She always wanted people to see the best in themselves. As a young, inexperienced therapist, I was feeling unsure of charging people to come see me and thought they would surely rather see a more seasoned therapist. Ruth took me aside and in her sassy yet gentle way said, “Now you listen to me. You are going to help a lot of people. We want you here because we believe in you. You are worth it.” In that moment, I felt so seen and known and encouraged. But that’s just what Ruth did… She saw you. Even if no one else saw the tear forming or tremble in your voice, Ruth did, and you better believe she was checking on you and making sure you knew how important you were.

I’ll end with one of Ruth’s favorite quotes from Carl Rogers: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Ruth lived her life making sure people knew how much she cared, earning their trust, and valuing the presence of everyone in front of her. She will be deeply missed in our lives and through our halls. We celebrate and honor the amazing person she was. I can hear her singing right now, “I am home in the promised land.”

–          Michelle Hitchcock, on behalf of The Shepherd’s Staff