Last week, a significant mentor of mine passed away.
Mary Alice Lacey.
She was 89 when she passed, and for 71 of those years, she taught Sunday School.
So, I believe it's beyond fair to say that thousands of children were blessed by her humble, sprightly spirit.
At her funeral on Saturday, more than 200 people gathered to mourn her passing.
But since she was so gracious, and craved neither credit nor fanfare, her funeral wishes specified that she did not want any attendees to stand up and talk about her.
When I was eight years old, she asked me to write and perform a "Tribute to Mothers" for a Mother's Day celebration in our Sunday School Department.
I have never forgotten the way I felt when she requested this of me.
She believed in me.
She trusted me.
She actually took me seriously.
She awarded me the dignity of a legitimate, gifted human being, rather than nonsensically dismissing me as a foolish child.
I suspect there are thousands who could (and should) tell similar stories of her immeasurable impact upon their young souls.
When I ponder the passionate commitment that she constantly exhibited, I am reminded of these words, spoken by Jesus Christ in Luke chapter 18:
Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.
These words, I suspect, were engraved upon her very soul.