Tonight I want to tell you about two special people that I knew. Their names are Fred & Jacki. Fred very recently went home to be with the Lord, and his wife Jacki. His passing caused me to reflect on the impact they had on my life. Sometimes it seems that it is the quiet people, those who move silently through your life, that have the most influence on you. This couple are prime examples of this fact.
I enjoy talking with people before the church service starts, especially the older people. I've always said, older people have the best stories. Shortly after I joined my church, I met Jacki. She always sat in the foyer, usually in a beam of sunlight (shining through the courtyard window). I started to get to know her there, chatting about the inconsequentials of the day, and about deeper matters. Somehow I found myself telling her about my worries about my youngest child, my daughter, and her struggles with school. Jacki offered to pray for her. She said, "I can't do much, but I can pray." I assured her that praying was a lot. Thereafter, every Sunday, every time I saw her, she would ask about Cat, and how she was doing, both in school, and out. Every week, she said she'd continue to pray for her. And she did. For the final 5 years of school, she prayed every day for Cat. And Cat's grades improved. She began to enjoy school more. I know a lot of that was due to her own hard work, but I also know that it was Jacki's prayers. When Cat graduated, I thanked Jacki for praying my daughter through school. It was a great deal.
Never far from her side was Fred. He would either be talking quietly with others, or just contentedly standing nearby. I saw how he gently saw to Jacki, helping her to the pew, getting her situated. I often saw them holding hands.
One Christmas eve Eve (the night two days prior to Christmas), I was feeling very depressed. I don't even remember why. I headed to the Christmas eve Eve service, alone, and unhappy about it. All of my kids were busy that night, but I decided to attend alone.
I walked into the church, and stood in the narthex watching as entire families sat in pews together. There I stood, feeling so very alone. Then Fred came up to me, and told me to please come sit with him and Jacki. I had to struggle to keep the tears from my eyes. I did sit with them, and they made me feel included, like part of their family. I went home from that service doubly blessed, both by the joyous service itself, and from their kindness. A few days later, I received a homemade Christmas card from the, with their picture on the front.
I still have that card to this day.
These two wonderful people quietly, but significantly impacted my life. I will miss them with all my heart, but know that I will see them again. I know that when I arrive in heaven, they will be waiting there for me. And they'll have new stories to tell me.