This afternoon I have the deep privilege to lead a memorial service for a dear sister. Her name is Thelma Harrison, but everyone calls her Suzy. I have known Suzy for more than 20 years. I got to know her through her son, Rico. When Rico was in junior high he was friends with the family next door. That family attended my church and so soon Rico started attending as well. Over time, Rico started hanging out at my house more than the neighbors. He especially liked hanging out around supper time.
As the years went by, I got to know Rico’s family pretty well. None of them attended church with any regularity, except Rico. When I moved to Arkansas I lost touch with the family. Not longer after my return to Franklin, I reconnected with Rico and his mom. For the past 3 years or so a big portion of the Harrison family (about a dozen of them) have been coming to my church. I have gone from friend to pastor to counselor. Suzy was a big part of our church, and our church loved and embraced her. Suzy loved the Miami Heat and LaBron James. Most Sundays she wore a Heat jersey to church…and she walked 2 miles every Sunday, rain, sleet, or snow, to attend.
A couple of Sundays ago, Suzy was at church, smiling, cutting up and drinking coffee. As she left she said, “See you Wednesday night at bible-study.”
Well, she didn’t make it to that bible-study.
Late that Sunday evening, Suzy had a stroke and never recovered. Rico, the little boy who hung out at my house who is now a man, had to make the tough decision of disconnecting all life support. I was there with my arm around him when they did.
Now today, our church gathers, not to say “good-bye,” but “see yea later.”
I hope heaven has ESPN, so Suzy can keep up with the Heat.