Life Understood Backwards with Sharon Madge

May 25, 2018

By Susan Weisenburger

Sharon is a Calgary born gal who found herself living in Spruce Grove quite serpendipitously some 43 years ago. She settles into her favorite chair, looking up the street, in the house chosen for her by her best friend. She tells her story of a search for meaning, and a strong commitment to her family, friends and faith. She is a woman of wisdom. I am eager to learn.

Until the age of 13 Sharon lived in Calgary. In the mid 50’s her family moved to BC where she took high school for 4 years before returning to Calgary and Edmonton to complete her teaching degree. The wonderful piece in the detour to BC was the fact that there she met the love of her life, Mick Madge. In love, Mick ended up following Sharon to AB and “the rest is history”!

Sharon accepted her first teaching position in Calgary. She voiced some interest in pursuing an after degree in theology when she received some bad news that turned into a true blessing -Mick, working for GMAC (a finance company) was being transferred to St. Paul. As newcomers there they found themselves the warmest fellowship of their lives in the ministry of the United Church. It was the late 60’s, the pastor was dynamic, the small group Bible studies were lively, and their circle of friends was strong and supportive. Delores and Hugh Reid were extra special to the pair. When Hugh was transferred back to Edmonton, settling in Spruce Grove, Sharon and Mick decided to follow. Delores actually picked out Sharon’s house for her just down the block, sight unseen. And of course the two families became active participants in the local United Church enjoying the connection, support, help, challenge and spiritual growth provided.

Mrs. Madge taught many of our local children in both Queen Street and Broxton Park Schools over 33 years. She preferred grades 4 and 5. Having been retired for several years now she still runs into former students who come up to reintroduce themselves. Sharon is amazed how she innately knew that great learning often takes place outside the confines of the school building. She made field trips a priority long before the system did.

Music remains a huge part of Sharon’s life and ministry. Although she had taken piano lessons as a child she began to feel a strong sense, as an adult, that she needed to renew that effort once again. All churches go through transitions and when her church experienced one Sharon knew that her priority would be to “keep the music going”. She has provided piano ministry for many years and still fills in when needed. She proudly remembers Marilyn Henker’s Christmas and Easter musicals held at Horizon Stage. She was in every one of them. It was great fun and fellowship.

Sharon is an avid reader with a fiction (light) and non-fiction (deep) always at her side. She reads a lot of theology claiming that she has “no choice but to search for answers”. She once thought she’d eventually find answers to her questions but she is now more comfortable with the
expanding mystery and living with the questions. Sharon’s books are her good friends that have opened her mind but she also loves a great reciprocal discussion with her people friends around issues that matter. Her growing age has thus developed in her a growing wisdom. She is interested in hearing what YOU think and what YOU have experienced. She loves the quote, “We lead our lives forward, but understand them backward”.

Sharon’s body is as active as her mind. She loves Yoga and receives excellent instruction twice a week at the Seniors Association Building behind City Hall in Spruce Grove. It is only $5 a class so most seniors can get out and get active. She claims there is also line dancing, quilting, special dinners, shuffleboard, bridge, and pool. In her opinion there are “so many nice things to do that we can’t do them all”. The couple love to get away in the winter but only for a month. “Our life is so rich and full here so I don’t want to be away. We are very involved with the grandchildren. I am always anxious to get back to my life right here.” She loves the emphasis Spruce Grove has put on nature with all the trees and landscaping. It is a wonderful HOME.

Sharon sees the declining health, and even death, of some of her good friends. Sometimes she looks around the room and realizes she’s the oldest one in the group. She thinks about the kind of care and choices her friends will have when they leave their home for “safer” environments.
She hopes there are a variety of options that will best suit their needs. If she could ask for anything it would be many different levels of care in senior residences.

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