Feb. 6, 2022


If she was still alive, she would have been 87 years old today. She was born on 2/6/1935. Her name was Shirley Farley, and she was one of the greatest people I have ever known. I was so blessed by God to allow me to cross paths with this Godly woman. I could not have loved her if she was my own flesh and blood. She carried with her an aura of peace and tranquility. It is hard to describe but you sensed it right away. It comes from people who have been with Jesus. Shirley, you noticed.

I first met her as a patient many years ago in my office. Our boys were young, and the village was needing a little more help to raise them. I went home bragging on her after our first encounter and the fact Shirley seemed more than bit interested in this.

My wife was a little slower coming around but eventually decided to give her a try. We decided to trust this elderly gal with all three parts of both our hearts.

I found years later she was not an instant hit. Jace our second son was more reserved. He would not come down from upstairs and stared down and upon this strange lady who played checkers with Josh and Jarah in the great room. After a while he crept down the stairs and entered the room but kept his distance.

Shirley tried to hide a smile as he slowly came out from hiding. It wasn't long and he was at the table and in love with this stranger that would soon feel like a third grandmother to them all.

It was not long before the boys worried about us not spending time together as a couple. They suggested we go out more and of course to ask Shirley to care for them. Kim and I were insulted but amused later at first but grew used to it that they seemed disappointed when we returned home despite the hour.

It pleased me how often they went to visit her when they were old enough to drive. Years later during college days she was their first stop even before coming home. Our oldest son josh is a pilot and often he would circle her apartment before she would come out and wave from the balcony. everyone who lived in her building thought the world of her as well. Shirley was poor in health and did not have much but was quite rich in friends. Shirley, you noticed.

She gave meet a start off one of her plants years ago. It is alive and well and I think of her each and every time I water it. her plant died during one of her many hospital stays and she asked for of a start from mine. It lived on though me and returned to her. I think this is an excellent metaphor of our shared faith as many other things that return to us.

The small little church where she worshipped was a bright yellow color inside. That was her favorite color. Shirley was positive, upbeat, and was joyful. this was contagious and radiated out from her even in her darkest moments. She was a walking example of what a walk with Jesus should look like. She had many setbacks and health problems but her wonderful attitude and faith preached even louder and more stronly at those times than she could have imagined.

She gave me wise counsel and I listened to her. I trusted her with my heart. She scolded me more than once, but I listened to her because I knew she loved me and wanted only to help by speaking the truth. my wife and boys sought her out often for the same reasons, I am sure.

She asked me I if would speak at her funeral. It was one of the toughest things I have ever done. I told the packed crowd we all had lost a mentor, cheerleader, and spiritual pillar. I told them I could not imagine a world without her, and I knew they all felt the same.

I shared that Iwas still tongue tied as I tied my tie to prepare and how none of us wanted to be there. The large crowd at the small church was a testament to this special gal. Some were care givers as the facility where she spent her last days and yet she had touched them. Many told me they never knew anyone like her, like that.

I explained that I see and look at many eyes every day. What made Shirley stand out is the way she looked at us.

It was a look of unconditional love and is so rare in this world. When she looked at you, it felt warm, safe, pure. It is as close as this world comes as to have been looked upon by Jesus himself. We all should aspire to look at others with eyes of comfort instead of labels and judgement.

She helped to develop and mold my faith as much as any that I have ever known. As I write, speak, and travel she is a part of my heart and she indirectly still lives, teaches, and bears fruit even now.

She was a living walking, talking example of how we as Christians should live and conduct ourselves. she would scold me again if she would read these words because she was humble as they come. Her only request at her wake was to give God glory and offer a chance to accept Jesus as lord and savior which I was sworn to do.

I always teased her about having her name in the bible. She would always smile as I recited the last verse of Psalm 23 which goes like this:

Surly goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I shall live in the house of the lord forever.

I am sure Shirley is in heaven. She was not good enough to get there by her own merits and would be the first to admit it. She is there because she trusted Jesus as both her Lord and Savior. She knew his blood and only his blood could do what nothing else could do. It was strong enough to wash away hers sins as well as ours.

I loved her and today I praise God for her and her life. I thank him for using her to make Him known, even now

Shirley, you noticed!

Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.

C.H. Spurgeon

Henry Adams

A teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops.

Rick Warren

When you use your life for God's glory, everything you do becomes an act of worship.

You can preach a better lesson with your life than with your lips.

Oliver Goldsmith