For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.
We were newlywed neighbors. Just a couple doors down and about fifty years apart. When I told you that Jonathan and I had moved into that honeymoon nest of an apartment of ours, you giggled and those blue eyes of yours sparkled. The memories of your own newlywed days in that same brick row of apartments brought a certain calm happiness to your voice as you reminisced with me about barbecues with your friends on the green lawn. You told me I’d love it there.
You’d come to the doctor’s office occasionally, to see another doctor in the practice, and when I’d get a minute (somehow I always knew when you were there), I’d sneak away from that desk of mine and run over to see you. I’d give you a knowing look and ask how your doctor was treating you and you’d give me that side-long glance of yours and ask me how that doctor of mine was treating me. The difference was, you were seeing a doctor for your health and I was merely working for one.
Then, after Firefly was born, you and Billy came to visit. I remember you both, walking up that L-shaped sidewalk, Billy with that certain little gait of his, and you in all your calm vivaciousness. You graced our small living room and sat on our enormous green couch and held our new bundle of pink and said all the things a new mother loves to hear. Those seemingly small gestures of yours . . . they meant the world.
I didn’t know you as well as some others. And I feel a bit out of place here, sharing anything about your life, while the entire church reels at the aftershocks of your passing. But I can’t stop thinking about your beautiful life. You were just that kind of person. Even if a person didn’t know you intimately, what they did know of you, they just simply loved. We couldn’t help ourselves. I can still hear your “HI!, Darlin’!!!” when I’d walk through the church nursery doors . . . you, decades older than all of us young moms, but there anyway, serving children as you’d been doing in this community for longer than most of us moms have been alive. You’d greet me from across the classroom and in your spunky, “glad to see you” steps, you’d patter over to the door and you’d ask me again how to pronounce my girls’ names. And you’d sort of shake your head in disbelief . . . I’ve never been sure if that little head-shake of yours was at how I’d named my girls such unusual names, or at the fact that you could never remember just how to pronounce them. It didn’t matter.
Because Firefly, the one you had in class all last spring just loved Miss Mancy, as she called you. She couldn’t wait for Wednesday morning Bible Study so she could go see you . . . and watch Veggie Tales. 🙂 Often, when I’d come back to the nursery to pick up my girls, we’d all be tired and hungry and I’d have a difficult time getting the little ones out the door and into the car without a bit of a meltdown. Even while chatting with all the other moms coming to retrieve their little ones . . . did you notice?
One day, I came to pick up Firefly and you came to the half-door and just said, “That Firefly.” And you sort of smacked your lips with this proud kind of look and that side-long glance on your face again. “Don’t you just LOVE her?!”
Did you know that I needed a reminder that my oldest is one of God’s own wonderful creations? Full of her own gifts and talents and that she is more than just a little person to be herded from the nursery classroom to the car? Because you made me stop dead in my tracks and I know my very soul paused in all its frenzy. That someone would love my child like that and take the time to make sure I knew…. You made me love my own little girl all the more – helped me honor that little soul of hers all the more. Yes, you served our children and it kept you young . . . but you served us in your serving.
Now, your race is done and we reflect on the beauty of your steps and thank God for the places where your tread crossed each of ours.
I hope you know.
You are sorely missed.