October 29, 1920-January 14, 2011
"I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7
My earliest memory of Ms. Rody is being into her Sunday School class at Cannons Baptist Church. I must have been around 5. Though one particular memory does not stand out, I can still see the wooden puzzles she placed on the tables before us to enjoy before our Bible stories and the crafts she prepared for us to make. Most importantly, I remember the way she loved us and God.
As I look back 35 years later, I realize she was already in her mid 50s and a grandmother. Despite the years she had probably already served with children, she did not have a viewpoint of having "already served my time." It is easy for me to imagine that she knew the gifts God had given her and was joyful to use those gifts loving and teaching young children. She served in the church and as a childcare worker for many years.
As I grew up in the church, she was always there, with a hug and a smile. Her granddaughter and I were childhood friends and I remember occasional Sunday dinners at Ms. Rody's house after church. I remember playing in her house with Kellie after the wonderful meals and the way she made me feel like part of the family. I remember her generosity when we left one Sunday after lunch and she placed a dollar in her granddaughter's hand and in mine as well.
Her generosity is also a part of one of my last memories of her. I was a young woman serving as a missions volunteer in Massachusetts. I spoke at my home church one Sunday morning while visiting my parents. At the end of the service, Ms. Rody, a widow, came up to me and gave me a hug. As she clasped one of my hands with her own, I felt a crisp, folded bill. My eyes searched hers in protest, but she insisted. Once again, I was touched by her generous spirit--not by what she gave materially, but simply by her kindness and love.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." Hebrews 12:1-2a