It’s Not About the Bell…

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Do you have that ONE thing that you really, really dread doing? Mine is checking emails. I admit that I rarely check them anymore because of all the advertisements that we are bombarded with. Well, during break, I finally broke down and checked the inbox – and I was so grateful that I had. There were like two emails that were important – two out of 200. Crazy.

One email was from a girlfriend, and the other was from Pastor Ben at ACOB. My girlfriend’s email brought joy to my heart, and Pastor Ben’s message brought tears. His message read: “Our dear saint and longtime member, Shirley Ann Smeltzer, has been welcomed home by God.” What a perfect way to give such news.

The purpose in sharing this is simply to shine a little light on this special lady – because she deserves it. She had such a big heart. I could share so many things that she accomplished and boast about her involvement in the church – including ringing the church bell. But it wasn’t necessarily what she did that made her stand out; it was her attitude, her smile, and her commitment to serving the Lord that spoke volumes.

Shirley was quiet, but not shy. She was one of those people you could count on to take the time to visit with you in church, before you even left your pew. Her gift was without a doubt the ability to make others feel important, noticed and loved. There truly are no words to explain the difference she made in my life.

My all-time favorite story is a funny one. I believe she was probably in her mid-70’s when she shared this with me. Church service had just ended, and she walked up to me and said, “I have to tell you something funny that happened to me the other day.” She told me that one of her grandchildren had stayed home from school because she was feeling ill, so Shirley spent part of the day with her. She snickered as she suggested that her granddaughter must’ve not been feeling all that bad because she wanted to play school. The interesting thing was that her granddaughter wanted to be the teacher, so that meant Shirley had to be the student. (Which was hilarious to think about since she had been a teacher for years – in the public school and in church.) She then began to chuckle as she explained that she apparently flunked ‘gym’ class, because when she was instructed to sit on the floor, she couldn’t get back up! OH… how she laughed, which made ME laugh. Such a sweet moment that I’ll never forget.

An interesting thing that we somehow discovered was that I had gone to kindergarten (a few years ago – ha) in a building where she had once worked – many miles from here. She remarked how amazing that was and who would’ve thought that our paths would cross again? Although It’s so hard to say goodbye, my heart is full of joy because I know this isn’t the end. Our paths will cross again – one more time.

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