Today I learned that one of the sweetest ladies I have ever known, Opalee Hall, stepped through heaven’s gate. I accepted this news with sadness and joy. I am saddened that we will miss her, but I am happy that her journey has now ended and she is in the Heavenly Country reunited with those who have gone before her.
I enjoyed her beautiful smile, loving spirit, and compassionate soul. When I would visit with her in her home we would talk about the good old days, the work of the church and how we need to reach out to bring others into the church. And then we would do our Blue Devil Dance…. she, like me, was a big Blue Devil fan. We also talked about her being from Leicester (north west of Asheville) where my dad served the Methodist Charge (Sandy Mush) back in 1949. We found that we live in such a small world.
I remember all of these things – especially her faithfulness… being in church every Sunday she could, even Sundays she probably did not feel like it. But there she was with that smile and that discerning involvement in worship. She was one of those people you could always count on to be there ready to sacrificially give all she could to move the church forward. And that she did for many years. If there ever was a time when I was feeling discouraged all I needed to do is look at her and her presence (who she is and what she was about) would lift my spirit.
She gave me a very special gift one Sunday as she was leaving church; she said: “Steve, I appreciate what you are trying to do at our church.” Those sincere words can keep a pastor going for a long time, working harder than ever.
She kept me going for a long time because every time I saw her she filled me with grace and reminded me of Jesus. I miss her greatly… and so will our church.