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Guided By Love

By September 26, 2016November 15th, 2016No Comments

Paul Harvey never met Aunt Joyce.  But if he had, he would have developed another of his human interest radio articles “now you know the rest of the story.”

I have the greatest honor here today to represent Aunt Joyce; for now, you will know completely and wholly the Aunt Joyce we all came to love and adore.

Her life was guided, steered – mapped out by LOVE and FAITH more than anybody, any of us have known.  Tell me if this isn’t Aunt Joyce – from Timothy Chapter 4; at verse 6…

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Joyce’s brother and my dad, Noel, described his upbringing in church several times to me during my growing years – he said that as kids, he and Dale and Joyce would do altar calls frequently… Dad groaned how he was sanctified, consecrated, dedicated, and how he testified, glorified, deified standing there at the altar in front of the congregation. And Joyce and Dale did it too – many times at the EUB Church altar.  And for Joyce, three times she stood at the altar and recited her wedding vows and most likely heard this scripture, which truly was the foundation of her being.  Listen again to this passage which usually passes our ears without really hearing the meaning…. Hear these words from Paul’s writings in I Corinthians Chapter 13.

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Joyce knew LOVE well.  She fell madly in love with three wonderful men in her life and married them.  She endured the marriages, through ups and downs-  and those men finished their courses first. But for Joyce and all those who grieve the most, they do so because they love the greatest. The more we love, the more we grieve.

Joyce loved to dance, we all know that.  We saw her cut up a rug in Florida many times at Mahaffers.  While the juke box was blaring, “Looking for love in all the wrong places,” she was there in the center of the creaky wooden dance floor surrounded by men and women of all ages – it didn’t matter, doing her own dance version combination of the boot scoot boogie, jive, twist, monkey, disco and yes, with a slight splash of twerk.

And even though the beat of music of all styles inspired her to jump to the dance floor, pulling somebody out to the floor with her, I’m here to tell you that Aunt Joyce kept looking for love in ALL the right places.

Joyce found love in all the right places.  Her life was guided and steered and mapped out by LOVE and FAITH more than anybody, any of us have known. She surrounded herself with good people.  She was a stronghold within her families – a source of strength for the Underwoods, the Sparks, the Snyders, the Millirons and the Webers.  She was an example of “though small in stature, large in strength and might.”

Her strength and might reminds me of the days in Grandma Underwood’s kitchen. There she arrived all dressed up after work, going straight to the refrigerator, complaining about how fat she’s gotten, bending down to the lower refrigerator shelve grabbing a big chunk of ham.  Talking and eating at the same time. Joking about how I was getting fat too.  But reminding me that she was still strong, able to move and even still do a few cheerleader jumps.  Maybe not the splits, but a hurkey or two.  And there she was with a mouthful of ham, jumping in the up in the middle of the kitchen, yelling 2 bits 4 bits six bits a dollar all for Cardington stand up and holler!!!!!!  Then she would land with her big, loud and mighty cackle laugh. Only to repeat the whole thing again as Grandma left the room disgusted reminding us “I didn’t raise her that way.”

Everything Joyce did was out of LOVE.  Her hospitality, neighborliness, volunteerism, devotion to her work and church, socialization on the golf course, her dedication to Big Brothers Big Sisters, her enjoyment working at the Ashland County fair, her involvement with the Chamber of Commerce and American Cancer Society and United Way – all out of LOVE.

She always looked and found LOVE in all the right places.  She was the one that while traveling or visiting parts throughout Ohio, Florida and the US, would run into people she knew, or people who knew other people.  She was approachable, lively, friendly, never knew a stranger…

And is the same now in Heaven. Clem greeted her with a slap on the backside, “Hey Bev” (Can you imagine the conversations that Clem and Fred have had in heaven?? Wow.) Anyway, now you know the rest of the story.  LOVE guided her head, hands, feet and her heart.

And as for the love of her life? Who stayed by her side through the God- awful end.  The love of her life who helped get her through those times of deep grief and loneliness and supported her when she couldn’t do it alone.

Her son – Todd, you were her true love.  We all thank you for being such a devoted and loving son to her. Because of you she had a good life and a good death, a life full of LOVE and a death comforted by LOVE.

And so, we say of Joyce now as we lay her to rest beside her love Clem, well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master.