When it’s my time

By KATHY COPELAND / Community Columnist

Vincent/Harpersville

Sunday afternoon, Sept. 29, the City of Vincent could have easily been the backdrop for the Rodney Atkins song, “When It’s My Time.”

In the song, the driver is running late and gets stopped by a funeral procession that seemingly goes on for miles. After much frustration, it dawns on the driver that this person is really going to be missed so he curiously follows the cars to the church to find out what kind of life created such a fuss.

Waldrop

Inside, he hears story after story, people laughing and people crying; every pew is full. He realizes the person responsible for creating such a stir had touched a lot of lives. He then thinks to himself; when it’s my time to go will it look like this?

Geraldine Conwill Waldrop—a petite, red headed, human Rolodex—created the same fuss. People came from miles away and stood around for hours to pay their respects and offer condolences. Why?  Because she touched their hearts.

Geraldine was a shining example of walking in the light of God’s Word. Her life was a testimony of putting God first. She understood what Jesus meant when he said, “Feed my sheep.”

Meeting Geraldine about 10 years ago was and will continue to be a blessing. Her wisdom, her compassion for others, her joyful embrace of life and the way she served is truly something everyone can and should learn from.

Geraldine was a servant—a teacher for 30 years, organist at her church for 50 years and an employee with the city of Vincent for over 20 years. But it wasn’t what she did that made her a servant with a servant’s heart. It was the way she did it. It was her attitude that shined.

Christians believe in living every day for Jesus, as if He will show up at any moment. We all fall short. Yet, it is the process of learning to love like Jesus; forgiveness, compassion, grace and mercy toward others that glorifies God. To love God is to love others the way Jesus loves us.

Geraldine’s actions demonstrated this daily. She loved without judgement. She encouraged the fallen with compassion. She extended grace because she knew she was the recipient of grace herself. It is through her I learned the real meaning of the phrase, “lift up His countenance upon you.”

Her trust in our Lord and her belief about where she was going when she departed from this earthly life gave her peace and the ability to live above her circumstances: battling cancer for 17 years. A lesson I have taken to heart.

She was a living example of what loving like Jesus looks like. He spent time with sinners, outcasts, the poor and the sick. So did Geraldine.

There are many who claim to love Jesus. He tells us we will know those who do by their fruit. The fruits of Geraldine’s life were on display Sunday afternoon.

There were cars everywhere, lines to get into the church, fresh cut flowers filling the sanctuary, the fellowship hall was packed with people and tables covered with food made with love.

Geraldine left a legacy, and her life should serve as a challenge to all of us. And as the sentiments of the song go:

When it’s my time to go

I hope it looks like this

Cars stretched as far as the hearts I touched while I lived

And I hope I leave half as much love behind

When it’s my time!

Until I see you again…I love you Geraldine!

Kathy Copeland is a community columnist covering the Vincent/Harpersville area.