I walked into the building for a time of receiving friends for the family of a dear precious lady known as Mama Edith. I expected the mood to be very somber, but much to my surprise, the room was filled with a mood of celebration; not that she was gone, but in knowing that she was no longer trapped in this world. Her soul had taken flight, and she was now singing the eternal praises of her Heavenly Father! As I walked through the packed room to view the body, I thought back to my first meeting with Mama Edith.
It was our church’s first mission trip to the small town of Shiloh, SC in July of 2009. I’m fully convinced it’s the hottest place in this great state with the largest bugs on the planet! Flatlands of fields for miles, with homes scattered sporadically. We were to sleep in an old store building, which belonged to Mama Edith. When we arrived, I automatically questioned my being there! Having decided to take our entire family, I doubted my ability to make it the entire week in such a hot place with little Nate, who was 3 months at the time! As for doing any mission work, well…that just seemed out of my range. I immediately had a rotten attitude about making the trip, and though I tried my best to mask it, I’m sure it was still evident to others. At our first meal, we met Mama Edith. I had previously heard story after story of her life. She and her husband owned and operated the store there in Shiloh back in the time of integration. She was also a librarian at a nearby school and played the piano in the Shiloh United Methodist Church up until she was in her 90’s. She and her husband were very influential in the Shiloh community. Often times they would give groceries to needy members of the community, knowing they would never be paid back for their hospitality. They were always very giving! Though racial tensions were very high during that era and somewhat remain that way today in that specific area, Mama Edith was friendly to ALL! It was known by everyone around that Mama Edith was color blind when it came to the color of skin, thus becoming the forerunner in Shiloh for integration. Even at the age of 95, that was her goal for us while we were there on mission; to further bring together two races.
Meeting her that first night was interesting for us all, especially me! She talked and talked, telling her stories to all that would listen, and repeatedly telling us how thankful she was that we were there. She just knew that something great would come of this trip. And then she turned to me and little Nate! Over and over again she repeated how awesome it was that I would make this trip with little Nate. She was fully convinced that even at his tender age, he would get so much out of this trip. She continually acknowledged what a good mother I was to realize the importance taking my kids on mission trips early on in their lives.
Good mother?! Oh my! I was so glad, at that particular moment, that her vision was not the greatest. Hopefully she hadn’t noticed my rotten attitude about being in this hot place called Shiloh. It was at that moment, I learned who Mama Edith really was. She was a world changer! From the time she entered this world, up until the very day that she left, she was out to make a difference. Not for herself, mind you, but all for the name of Christ. Every good deed…every act of kindness…every word of hope… was all for the name of Christ. Her name was not world renowned, but her name was highly recognized in the little town of Shiloh. She changed the “world” of Shiloh with every day she lived! Needless to say, God spoke to my heart in that moment through Mama Edith, and my perspective changed about my journey to Shiloh. I was able to enjoy the rest of my week there, and couldn’t wait this past summer to take Marleigh on her first mission trip to Shiloh at the age of 4 weeks. I was very excited as well to introduce her to Mama Edith!
Now, looking at her sweet face as she lay in her coffin, I was amazed at the full-life she had lived! Her impact was evident as I stood there over her in the crowded store building. More importantly to me, she had made an impact on my life as well! I never knew the place of Shiloh, SC existed, but now it is a place that can’t be easily forgotten. It’s the home of a world changer! If I could only live up to who she thought I was!
There are so many days that I feel absolutely trapped as a mommy. I want to be out changing my world, but alas, I’m stuck at home changing diapers instead. I fail to remember that you don’t have to GO anywhere to be a world changer. Mama Edith didn’t have to leave Shiloh to make a difference in “her world”, and while I am “stuck” at home, I don’t have to leave these 4 walls to make a difference! My kids need me to be Christ to them! If I only change the atmosphere in my home over the next few years, then I have become a successful world changer!
Luckily, I am pleased that I know some of Mama Edith’s family. They are part of my family as well. I look at them and can see a little of Mama Edith in them all! What a legacy she passed down! I want to have a legacy worth passing down just as she did. I want to change my world for Christ, even during these times that I’m stuck changing diapers all day long. May her spirit of serving continue to live in each person she came in contact with, and may the family of this precious lady find comfort and joy in the mantle that now lays on them. Let’s go forward and change “our world”!