Remembering…Mabel Goodwin

February 1, 2008 at 11:04 am 7 comments

We received word yesterday of the passing of our friend Mabel Goodwin.  Mabel was 97 years old.  It is amazing for me to think that when I first met Mabel, more than 19 years ago, she was nearly 80 years old and still working everyday as the custodian in the church I began pastoring in 1989.  How long she had been in her place before we came to the church I don’t recall, but if there was an individual who typified all that was good about that 100 year old church, it was Mabel.

For those of you who are not pastors you might not understand this comment but I will write it anyway.  Mabel was one of those people whose memorial service I looked forward to leading.  Certainly not because I wanted her to pass on, but because there are those whose lives and experience with their Father is so rich, full and blessed you enjoy sharing their story with those who come to celebrate their lives.  It would have been a joy to eulogize Mabel but since that isn’t going to happen, I speak well of her here.

She lived across the street from the church, so she not only cleaned the building she locked and unlocked it before and after nearly every gathering, no matter the weather or the time of day.  She seemed to have some sixth sense, that told her when meetings were concluded, so that she would just appear when it was time to close up.  I don’t imagine I had to lock or unlock a door more than a handful of times in all the years she was on the job.

I still remember the day we began to talk about her retirement.  Our facilities had expanded by several thousand square feet during her tenure and she no longer could keep up with everything.  I told her she could have a job as long as she wanted it, but we were going to get her some help.  She was so thankful and gracious about it all.  She continued to work for a couple more years and then for several years after that the leadership of the church graciously continued to pay her as a form of retirement pay.  I suppose at that point I had seen her and visited with her most every day for nearly 10 years.  She was an important part of church life and very much a part of my life.

Mabel was a positive, hopeful and strong woman.  She had to have been nearly 90 when she was struck by a motor home while crossing the street in downtown Shelton.  She was injured badly and I wondered if she would make it but make it she did and did very well for many more years.

After that accident she moved from her home across the street from the church into an apartment in a senior complex a mile or so away.  But she never missed church, always sitting in the pew across the aisle from where I sat with my family.  During the greeting time we never failed to give her a hug and tell her how glad we were to see her. 

Toward the end of my pastorate I stopped wearing ties on many Sundays.  Mabel never said anything about the missing tie but when I would wear one she would always tell me how handsome I looked in a tie.  Almost made me want to go back to wearing one every Sunday!

Linda, our kids and I, really enjoyed hearing her sing along during our worship time, even though the songs we sang were not hymns and were not songs she knew, she would sing out and raise her hands in worship and never seemed to get caught up in the arguments and rhetoric about music or worship that many of her contemporaries did. 

Perhaps the greatest blessing Mabel gave me came after my abrupt and difficult exit from the church.  I was not given the opportunity to say good bye to her or anyone else when I left, but one night several months later I received a phone call from a woman whose relationship to Mabel was never clear to me, but this person was going through some very hard times and needed some Spiritual guidance.  When the woman told me who she was, she said something like this: “Mabel Goodwin told me to call you because she thinks so much of you and knew you would be able to help me.”  She went on to say Mabel told her:  “You call Pastor Greg because he will know how to help you.”

You cannot imagine how that referral blessed me.  For Mabel, blessing others was not difficult.

The poem writer David wrote: Blessed in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints…  Still true.

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Entry filed under: Belief, Christianity, Church, Culture, Faith, Family, Friendship, Jesus, Northwest, The Father.

Where’s your line? Monday morning meanderings. Vol.30

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dan  |  February 4, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    It was a sad, but happy day. Mable was always so positive and had a smile for me every Sunday. I didn’t get to know her as well as you but you have captured well that which I did know of her. One day in Glory, we will see her again! God bless!

    Dan

  • 2. bs  |  February 2, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    i’m saddened by mabel’s passing but i am honored to have known her.
    she was an amazing woman and one i will tell my children about…her faith, her heart to serve, her abundant life, her willingness to give of herself, her love for our SAVIOR and so much more.
    she’s a model for what a life with CHRIST should look like and i will miss her.
    well said, dad.

  • 3. Larry  |  February 2, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Good job and well said. She waits in heaven doing what she liked best to serve the King. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • 4. amanda  |  February 1, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    After reading this it makes me wish i would’ve had a chance to meet her while i was there.

  • 5. Carol  |  February 1, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Mabel is going to be missed by so very many of us this side of Heaven. She is a very rich friend to have by our side. Mabel is a grand example of Christ”s Church family. How very wrong it feels that you, Linda and your kids are not here with us to remember her together side by side.

  • 6. Andy  |  February 1, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    For all the people in the ‘church’ world who want their deeds to be recognized and applauded, it’s nice to know that there are still a few Mabel Goodwin’s left in the world; those who serve behind the scenes doing whatever needs to be done, doing things that nobody else really wants to do, stuff that you don’t get much credit for. It won’t take Mabel and those like her long to receive their rewards when like Mabel they come into HIs presence!

  • 7. waddey  |  February 1, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Great post. It was a blessing to read.

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