Well, we lost another one. If you read my last blog, I was talking about these rare individuals in our church that we revere as Charter Members—those who’ve been a part of WACC from the very start. Three weeks ago we had three left. And then there were two. And now we’re down to one, an honor and burden carried so well by Margie Gabehart who comes from the kind of pioneer stock that churches are built on and dry up without. You hang in there, Margie! I’ve thought about this a lot, lately, and I don’t think our respect for these is only due to their age and experience, which is by itself significant. As Charter Members they have, for a fact, been here longer than the rest of us. They paved and helped pay for the way that we enjoy at WACC today. That’s true. But if I were to boil it down, I believe we celebrate and honor these wonderful people simply because of who they are. What they’ve done for their church for over 63 years is nothing to sneeze at; but all of their exemplary behavior can be traced back to one defining commonality: in each case, and every case, many years ago they made a decision to say “yes” to Jesus. It was a decision they took seriously, and one that has played out day after day and year after year in their faithful and often sacrificial service to church and kingdom.
So this week’s loss is another huge one to our faith family. The loss is huge, although the person was anything but that. Pat Daughtrey has never been a woman of physical substance. A tiny thing, all of her life, further bent and reformed by an evil taskmaster named arthritis. It would be hard for me to say for sure, but I imagine Pat had not had a pain-free day during the past 2 decades. But you never would have known it! Pat was small, definitely on the quiet side. But she had a smile and a heart and an attitude the size of heaven, where she is now completely pain-free, and where now her smile serves to further illumine the celestial sky. I believe that in Pat’s smile we’ve all been seeing heaven. She was filled with it, and it just leaked out! Some people lead and serve forcefully, often loudly. Others, like Pat, might seem a small rock just breaking the soil, or a little floating chunk of ice in the sea—when in truth, the tiny part you see is but a fraction of the whole. Pat was that rock, that boulder, that berg—relatively small in obvious form but absolutely huge in effect and attitude and impact and faith—and in every other way that mattered. She possessed an immoveable, unshakable faith in her Lord, and that one fact caused her to also to be a rock of courage and encouragement for all of those of us who were blessed to know her.
Pat, you had a head start on the rest of us at WACC. Now you’ve gotten a head start to heaven. Put in a good word for us, OK? Especially for Connie and Ethel, cause Lord knows they need it. And Margie, the baton is passed, and you’re the last runner among those who started a marathon in 1949. You’ve been showing us how to run the race well for lots and lots of years. But we’re not quite ready to take that baton. You hang around for awhile and keep showing us how it’s done!