Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Lessons learned...be kind to a stranger

Yesterday was a very hard day. I was coming off the high of an amazing weekend with the Presiding Bishop. The Most Rev. Michael Curry was in town for three days and visited all five of our downtown churches for various events. I highly recommend you watch his Saturday address and Sunday sermon at Grace church (starts at the 39 minute mark).

Vicki and her daughter Brooke
But yesterday was about celebrating the life of an amazing lady who had died too young. Vicki Warren Washburn was the mother of a friend. She was one of those ladies that always had a smile on her face, a kind word, and enough energy to fuel a city. Cancer took her from us much too quickly.

On the way to the funeral, I found out even more bad news. A parishioner of All Saints Episcopal Church on Hilton Head Island had died in a car accident on the way home from seeing the Presiding Bishop on Saturday. Even more heartbreaking, I had been in the car with Loretta and her husband Steve just two hours earlier. I did not know Loretta Tabor before Saturday. I was leaving the Church of the Holy Communion and realized my car was still at Grace Cathedral from the lock-in the night before and I had not arranged a way to get back to it. Loretta and Steve happened to be walking out at the same time and I asked for a ride. They did not hesitate but welcomed me, a stranger, into their car. Loretta graciously gave me the front seat. The short drive was filled with stories about the work they have been doing for years in the Dominican Republic. They were leaving the conference early to set up a fundraiser to do even more good work for the people they loved there. After they dropped me off, they were in a car accident on the way home and Loretta died.

Loretta doing Vacation Bible School in the Dominican Republic
This brings up so many emotions in me. At first, guilt that the extra few minutes to drop me off put them in the line of that oncoming car. But I prefer to think that God isn't that cruel. That God put me in their car in her last hours to hear about the work she was doing and share it with the world. Loretta left this world helping a stranger.

So what if the next person you meet will be the last you talk to? What do you want to tell them? Or what if you will be the last person to speak to the next person you see? How can you be a better listener to those around you?

I hope that you will be as positive as Loretta and Vicki. Share your light with the world. We are Easter people and while I am sad in their passings, it is sadness for those they left behind. The examples both of these strong women have left in the world ensure that they will not be forgotten.


  1. Oh, Andrea, this so makes my heart ache for Steve and for Loretta, as well as for you this week. Loretta was a gifted educator and a loving and caring person. I will so miss her. I am glad you are able to share her story. Thanks.