|Original Picture by Flickr user Cheryl|
Crocheting was not all she did to help people. At her funeral, we got to see a lady that we haven't seen for years. She was Mema's constant companion for I have no idea how long. I don't think it was because Mema particularly enjoyed her company, though. It was because the lady needed a friend and a safe place to stay during the day. So most days she was with Mema for most of the day. We got to visit with the preacher of the tiny congregation where she lived. He knew her better than we did because from the first Sunday he started driving to preach at the Big Sandy Church of Christ, he started staying at her house and taking naps in her guest room between services. She had a library of who knows how many books that she set up in her house so others could check books out before the town got a real library. We never stayed at her house during the summer that she didn't get at least 2-3 visitors during the day. Most of them were lonely people who were looking for someone to listen to them. So they stayed at her house all day every day. I couldn't believe it when I found out that Mema had started writing letters to people on our church sick list that she had seen in our bulletin. (Mema had never even been to the town I live in much less met any of the people in the bulletin. But she always insisted on reading the bulletins of any congregation where her family attended.) I wonder how many others she wrote letters to when there was no other way for her to serve them.
Now don't get the wrong impression. Mema had her rough edges! We all found at shortly after she moved in with my parents how stubborn she could be and how blunt she could be! She could drive you insane with some of her antics and semi-manipulative tricks! But in the end, there is nothing in the world that she wouldn't do for anyone. If she had the power to help, she would. Guess which things we remember about her now.
What will people remember about you when you are gone? Tabitha...and Mema, whatever their faults, served in such a way that when they died, people wept. And those they had served had tangible evidence that they could hold up and show to others to prove the service that had been performed. I wonder what would be held up by people if I died today?
Will we be known as people who are "always doing good and helping the poor?" I can't think of a better epitaph. Tabitha's friends said that about her and it moved Peter to raise her from the dead. But the truth is that Tabitha died again later. How glorious to think that both she and Mema will one day again be raised from the dead because they were both in Christ! And when that second resurrection happens, how glorious to hear the voice of God echoing the voice of those friends!
That's what I want at the end of my life. What about you? Of course the key is living now so the epitaph at death is already written. What will your epitaph be?