Those That Till


(Graveside Eulogy)

On Earth, you have different people for different functions; those that till the soil, those that plant, those that remove weeds, and those that harvest. Connie was a tiller of the soil; she prepared the hard-packed, rocky soul for the seed of your Word.

Connie is a straightforward, simple name, and you probably call her Connie, like most of us (‘cause you were there when she played the joke on those military men and gave them her fictitious name of “Connie”, and you probably thought it was funny too) but her given name is quite complex: Jessie Maudeen Orpha Stafford Hopkins. (She said the extra name “Orpha” was from her mother’s close friend, the town’s ‘brazen hussy’ who wore pants and didn’t pussy-foot around, or candy-coat the issues; she just said it like it was.)

Her name is complex, but she isn’t. (And I say “is”, Lord, because I doubt that it changed by living with you.) You said to come to you as a child, and I think Connie did; she didn’t spend long amounts of time in study or group-worship, but she sure prayed (even through the times she didn’t see any results). Her presentation of the gospel was simple and direct, just as her life-application; “Love each other just as I have loved you.”

She was a mother to all lost, miss-guided souls who sat down at her table (like me). Her ‘tilling of our soil’ consisted of two precious gifts, rarely found together:

Acceptance: Her simple, direct acceptance of our sometimes hard or rocky person-hood (with it’s negative complications) was the ladder to self-acceptance, and the realization that God could see our soiled souls and yet love us enough to sacrifice His son to allow us life forever with Him. … and Time: Time to adjust to a new reality and time to learn a new definition of self.

Some might think Connie was too accepting; that her presentation of unconditional love allowed people to grow stagnant and helpless, but I disagree. The model of Christ is simple, direct, unconditional love, but even when he walked on this earth, not all responded to that perfect love in the same manner or at the same rate of growth.

Thank you for allowing me the privilege of time with your gardener, Connie. She has been a mother to me; her simple, direct gifts of time and acceptance prepared me to seek out your will for my life and develop some long-lasting goals. One of those goals is to live life in such a manner that my gardener – Connie – can be proud of me when we stand together and she hears those words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”.

-Bindy wrote this for her graveside eulogy on 22 March 1997 (aka Truthful Kindness after name-change)

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