Thursday, January 22, 2009

In Memory Of...Barbara Smith

Many called her Auntie Barbara. I always called her Mrs. Smith but I knew her personally as a mentor, mother, and leader of Covenant United Church of Christ. She is also my pastor's wife, and I can say openly that she was the first face that truly welcomed me into the Covenant family. I preached for a teen lock-in and she just loved it. She was glad to have me around the teens and always...ALWAYS pushed me to take what I was doing to the next level. She expected excellence and did it in the most loving and caring way imaginable. She loved her family and was a servant of God...no, a FRIEND of God.

We are truly strangers in this world, and she left it today, peacefully, with her family by her side. She is home now.

We should feel hurt and stunned at being a bit more lonely now.
We should feel joy and even the smallest amount of jealousy that the mystery of God has been fully revealed to her.
We should feel thankful that we knew her, and should carry her legacy of excellence with us, as we continue on the long and winding road.
We should call someone and tell them "I love you"

It's funny how pointedly you can reflect on something once it is behind you. How death becomes the great articulator. But I challenge us to put loss on our windshield and not the rearview. Let our loss push us and let its remnants remind us of how wonderful yet fickle life is. Think about the people you need to call or visit, but haven't because you don't want to "lose" time on something else. Think about the opportunities we have already lost -even in our few years- to love bigger and become better. Think about the memories that used to be so sacred but are now "lost" in the business and busy-ness of our daily grind. Look at how much we've "lost" trying to keep it all together.

Forgive yourself, but spend some time gathering the scattered.

We miss you Mrs. Smith, "Auntie", and we will try to live better. We will try our best not to lose you.

-JD

If you have Good Memories, Encouraging Thoughts, Confessions, or anything else related to this moment, leave them in the comments section. I promise you this...when the time is right Rev. Ozzie will read them ALL. Love you

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've known Barbara since attending CUCC 12 years ago. I got to know her very well... Mostly just knowing when she felt like joking around and when it was time to tend to the business. The last words of encouragement we shared with each other was a mutual friend including her (thru me) in her prayer requests and her telling me not to give up hope and how hard it was to find a job. She said it would even be hard with an advanced degree. We understood each other very clearly. Sometimes we didn't say a word. I winked, she smiles. My memories of her and our closeness came along when someone required counseling and we debated if they should talk to the pastor. I told them that I would just talk to Barbara because she was a woman like myself, with children in the work world and had a better grip from her initial being to deal with the problem.

We will miss her... But we're lucky to have her memories.

January 23, 2009 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Seena Brodnax-Anderson said...

The halls of Covenant are lonely today. The office not as warm. The second row in the third section will be empty, regardless of who sits there.

The woman who called my oldest "Dr. Jenna" because she always asked about Mrs. Smith's health is with her Savior. She is not here with us anymore in the flesh, but I can still feel her spirit. I can hear her voice, see her face. I will miss you, Auntie Barbara...more than I could express. You were one of my mother's best friends, and one of my mentors.

I will continue to make you proud. Sing for my Uncle Beetle up there...until we meet again.

January 23, 2009 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Dee Dee Knowles said...

I was blessed with the awesome gift of being one of Barbara and Rev. Ozzie's babysitters after their 1st one went off to college, and the truth be told, I would have kept Lauran, Tre' and Brian for free, just to be around the woman whom I called my godmother. Barbara was the very first person that I told about one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. Did she give me a "pat" answer such as, 'Oh Dee Dee, I'm sorry to hear that, I'll be praying for you?' No, my problem immediately became her problem. She got involved spiritually, emotionally and financially, and walked through it with me 'til the end. I was a 14 year old unsure, developing adolescent when I first met Barbara, and 25 years later, I've become a confident woman and minister...and because I was blessed to be in her presence in the most formative years of my life, Barbara Smith plays a major role in why I am the woman that I am today!

Because of Barbara...I also choose to Dance!!

February 2, 2009 10:36 AM  

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