Salts of the earth

Elizabeth Swaringen, who writes our Family House Diaries stories, shares additional insights about the couple featured in the latest installment.

Salts of the earth click to enlarge Photo of Martha Jean Green from her CaringBridge site.

Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011

From the minute I met Martha and Clay Greene, I felt like I’d known them all my life. They remind me of my own parents: unwavering faith, a constant willingness to help others especially in the form of sharing gifts from their garden, difficulty relaxing on the porch and just letting the day come to them.

Martha and Clay are salts of the earth, two peas in a pod. Watauga County natives from opposite ends of the county and attending rival high schools, they married at ages 16 and 18, respectively, and have never looked back. He was a high school basketball stand-out, and she would skip events at her school to watch him play. “I took a lot of grief over that, but it was worth it,” Martha said.  I had no doubt.

Although she tires easily, Martha doesn’t complain, but just pushes through reaping joy is whatever activity she’s involved with. She misses working in her flowers there in “the Holler”, the 50-acre family farm that includes three houses Clay helped design and build for himself and Martha, and their two children.

Until cancer came into their lives, Martha and Clay had planned to continue helping rebuild post-Katrina Mississippi, where they had already made three trips. Their most rewarding experience involved connecting with a young deaf-mute couple. “Their experiences receiving and accepting help from previous mission teams had not been good because communication was an issue,” Martha recalled.  “A simple dry erase board remedied that and within a week, they were ready to move back into their house. We’ve remained friends and exchange Christmas cards.”

“God uses them where ever they go,” the Greene’s daughter, Betty Russell, writes at www.caringbridge.org/visit/marthajean.  How powerful is their message of hope and gratitude, delivered one-on-one just talking on the porch.

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