At the lovely and humble Tolersville Baptist Church, every pew was populated for Lois’ funeral. Young and old and in-between, people showed up to pay tribute to a life lived well. In many ways, it was a life that knew suffering. But more than that, Lois bears witness to the richness of a life of purpose. Lois lived in a small town in North Carolina, raised her children on a farm, worked and played and made mistakes within a few miles all her life. But all of it, every choice, went beyond random acts of kindness or genetic predispositions. She believed.
During her funeral, we heard about how many in her church and community thought of her as “Mama Lois”. I personally loved the story of how she’d sometimes call her pastor and tell him that she had to miss a Sunday because one of the other churches in the community needed a piano player. She directed the choir and worked with every child that came through those church doors. She even worked for years in a day care center, long past the time most of us would decide that we were too old for such things. But Lois believed that children were the future – and she believed in investing in the future. Why?
From Paul, an apostle who is not sent from human authority or commissioned through human agency, but sent through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead; 2 and from all the brothers and sisters with me. Galatians 1:2 CEB
Lois knew that she was more than her upbringing, her cultural milieu, even her circumstances. Certainly she was more than her health. Maybe the best example of this is the last story we will all tell of Lois. Lois had been very ill for a long time. In fact, the week before her brother’s funeral she was particularly sick. But Lois insisted on attending her brother’s funeral. Lois believes that we show up for each other. She was strong and stubborn and didn’t make excuses for why she “couldn’t” – no way was she missing her own brother’s funeral.
Obviously in her state of health no one would have thought she SHOULD show up for that funeral, which required travel and an overnight in a hotel. But Lois didn’t make decisions based on what she could get away with in the court of public approval. When Lois got to the hotel where she was to stay and rest before attending the funeral the next day, it quickly became apparent that the car ride had been too much for her. She passed away that night after many tried to stabilize her. Lois lived the last day of her life showing up for those she loved. That’s a pretty good example of what it looks like to know you are on this planet for a purpose beyond your self.
I would ask you to consider your own state of affairs. Can you affirm your belief that you are more than what can be predicted by your gene pool and circumstances? Lois could and did – and it made a difference in the lives of many.