Honoring Dr. Alvis Harthern in my way

Everyone has their own way of dealing with the loss of someone who carried weight in their life.  Everyone has their own perspective on a situation and on the circumstances that surround traumatic and life-affecting events.  This is what makes us, as people, a broad representation of the Heart of the Father.

Yesterday, my wife and I received news that a spiritual mother to thousands and friend to even more passed from earth to the Heavenly Kingdom.  While I am a dude and not very outward with emotions all the time, my heart weeps because of our loss of this child of God.  Yes, I know that we will see her again and that she is in a better place, but as it has been said, “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there.”  Likewise, us remaining on Earth mourn over this portal, even though the destination is “gain” for that one traveling through it. . .

As I was thinking about “Ms. Alvis,” a few personal memories came to mind.  Most people remember her as the consummate Pastor’s wife, always there by Pastor Paul’s side, teaching Sunday school or organizing different aspects of church life.  Others saw her from a different perspective, for Dr. Alvis Harthern was the Dean of Early Childhood Education at the University of West Georgia before she retired.  She was utterly brilliant; a writer, a gifted teacher and administrator – able to bring the best out of the subject at hand and make it memorable.  But I also knew the Alvis that set aside her reserved, quiet strength and longing to be behind the scenes to play the part of Martha McCallister, the wife of the begrudging and scrooge-like character Emmett in the 1995 church Christmas Play simply because it was something “fun.”  And the Alvis who, when a certain young lady walked in the door of the church for the first time, unabashedly encouraged me to go say, “hey” because she thought I would like her (I ended up marrying that “certain young lady”).  Even when stating that she thought I would be a good missionary (and I thought she was crazy), I listened to her as her challenge to me made me a stronger person.  There are many other stories and memories I have about Ms. Alvis as she challenged, comforted, and guided me for a portion of my life as a “change agent” for the Kingdom.  While these might not rank up there on her “crowns” list, the simple memories that we have of her and the daily interactions we had with her impacted all of our lives!

As we all take a moment to mourn the life cut too short (hey, 100 should be “short), let us focus on two things: remembering the impact she had on our lives for the positive, and making sure that we follow her lead in being a life-altering change agent!

We miss you Alvis!  See you in a little while!

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