In Celebration of MHS Class of 1958

In Celebration of MHS Class of 1958

A Tribute and Celebration

We were the class of 1958, members of the Greatest Generation as well as children of the Greatest Generation. Born in 1940, we are also called members of the Traditional Generation.

Our childhood, post World War II, "was the best of times . . . it was the age of wisdom . . . it was the epoch of belief . . .it was the season of Light . . . it was the spring of hope . . . we had everything before us . . .we were all going direct to Heaven . . . ." (A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens.) At least, that's the way I felt about it. We were truly blessed.

- Ouida Tomlinson -

This blog is a place for 1958 graduates of Meridian, Mississippi, High School to stay in touch, post their news, items of interest and photographs.



CLASS OF 1958 MEMORIES (Click to read all posts relating to sports, honors, graduation and other memories of our class in 1957-58.)

FACEBOOK PAGE FOR CLASS OF 1958
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MHS58/



____________________________________

HOME


Thursday, March 12, 2015

FUNERAL OF JOYCE BAILEY HINTON RIDER

Homily of The Reverend David Elliott
March 11, 2011

As a priest, it is a privilege to be with people and families in their best and worst times—their times of joy and their times of sorrow—their times of birth and times of death.  It is an honor and privilege that many people do not get—to watch and be with people as they share the love they have as a family.

Joyce and Judy and Gay and I grew up in Meridian—doing things kids do in high school.  I can still see her in her majorette outfit, marching, strutting away with that wonderful smile on her face—throwing that baton up in the air!!!   I’m going to mention some things that only Meridian High friends may be able to remember:  Dusty lead outs…Walk-A-Way…Rebel Gully…Dunn’s Falls…slumber parties that boys knew about…lemon squeezes...red tops…Rufus…teenage canteen.

Girls who have become lifelong friends—friendships that have lasted to this very day—friendships that don’t need Facebook or Twitter—just high school friendships that never die---those who kept up with her and loved her these last few months.

As I sat and talked with Joyce and Jerry and Judy and Robert and Paul and Melissa, I found and felt a love that binds and holds families together.

Judy was able to stay here almost all the time and I saw a sisters’ love for each other—a closeness that is only known in families that share love and life together—that have been through the ups and downs of life and still can share—and laugh—and love.

They had some time to laugh together and cry together—a time many of us do not get—a time to cherish for a lifetime.

Paul and Melissa and Joyce shared times and a love that is only known between a mother and her children—a bond that is never broken.

And Joyce and Jerry’s relationship was the way God intended marriage to be—the commitment and love that Jerry had for her… it was utter and complete love and devotion—a love and devotion that spans eternity…I know he said when they first met—kind of a blind date at Nick’s, she was shy and nervous—not typical for Joyce, but typical for a girl in love—in love all over again.

He said when they were trying to get her to eat and get some strength back, he went and got her some chicken strips.  They sat there in that hospital room—not really saying any words—but sharing that time together like it was a picnic.  Theirs was a love that was special.

I have many people tell me—“David, I know I shouldn’t cry… I know they’re better off and I feel so guilty about crying.”   I say this morning—it’s good to cry—it’s okay to cry.  Something precious is gone and is going to be missed.  There’s a hole now that will never ever be filled in quite the same way—so cry and let God wipe your tears dry.

Those of us who knew and have known Joyce for these many years know she could be a little spunky and feisty—and had a smile that would enfold you, but had a little devilment in it also—especially when those eyebrows would go up.

When she got in rehab, she took a look at herself in the mirror and said, “I’ve got to fix my hair.” Judy helped her fix it and they took some selfies together—selfies that will be treasured for years to come.

That’s the kind of person she was… that was the Joyce we all loved and called a friend.

Her faith—her undying faith in God got her through these last two months.  She never really questioned why something like this had happened to her.  She fought with all her might to get better.  It was her faith and her determination that made her struggle with that therapy - hurting, but always trying to do the best she could.

It was a faith embodied in Psalm 121:  “My help comes from the Lord—the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved. . . . He who watches over Israel shall neither slumber or sleep.”  Hers was a faith in a God who loved her—who walked with her her whole life and stood with her and loved her and suffered with her as she lay there many times in silence.

I know when we had last rites together, there was peace in her eyes - a stillness and calm in her soul that filled the room - even when she couldn’t talk, you knew she knew you were there.

And listen to what St. Paul says in Corinthians that God will give us a new body - what I would call a heavenly body given by God - a recognizable body.  I may doubt.  I may search and question many things in my faith, but life after death is not one of them - a life with those we have known before.  I firmly believe I will know my father, my mother and my brother.

Nancy Roach asked me one time as she lay dying on her bed, “David, what’s heaven going to be like?”  And I said, “Nancy, I can’t say for sure, but I believe it will be the most wonderful surprise you have ever known.”  Joyce is now basking in that magnificent love of God.

And listen to the hymn we sang right before the Gospel.  “We read Thy power to bless and save, / E’en in the darkness of the grave;  / Still more in resurrection light, /  We read the fullness of thy might.”  This is a faith that says and believes.   Joyce is now in that dwelling place with God—that God’s heart was the first to break when she died—and she is now healed.  She is now at peace.

Let us pray.

Eternal God, beyond our understanding and desire to cherish every life, we bless you for the gift of life so abundantly present in your child Joyce.

We thank you for a life’s task so faithfully and honorably discharged—for good humor and gracious affection and kindly generosity.

Grant O Lord that your gifts in Joyce may be cherished from one generation to generation—her loyalty and love for her family—her friends—her heritage—and her church.

In your child Joyce—the laughter of the heavens became present in a gentle wit—the love that spans eternity revealed in a single smile.

Receiver her now into the joyous mansions of eternity where with countless angels and all your saints, she may sing your praise forever more….and grant to us who are still in our pilgrimage, the assurance of her peace and the wonderful memory of her love.  Amen.


No comments: