Ernie is a wonderful black woman with whom I shared an office in the 70’s. We were secretaries at a large manufacturing company, but I believe God put me in that office with Ernie for reasons other than typing.
Ernie had 9 children, the youngest a year older than our oldest child. So anything I was going through with my children, she had already been through, usually MANY times. And she had a faith that showed in everything she did. And she loved to laugh too, which of course, made us friends, as well as co-workers.
Ernie had a way of saying things that was so charming and quotable, I came to call them Ernie-isms:
“I try not to look at other people and judge who they are and how they’re doing things, because while I’m looking at them, Christ may come back and I won’t be looking up watching for Him, and I’ll miss Him!”
“When I’m worried about something, I’ll just say, ‘Lord, I’m just going to give this to you to take care of, and I’m not going to worry about it any more. And a half hour later, I find myself grabbing it back, and saying, ‘Let me worry about that just a little bit more!’”
She agreed to coordinate the wedding of a young couple in her church, even though she’d never done that before. Unfortunately, her fears were well-founded — everything that could go wrong, did go wrong – missing flowers, no-shows in the wedding party, etc. When she came to work on Monday, I asked how the wedding went, so she gave me all the gory details (in a way that made me laugh until I cried) and ended by saying, “If I EVER stand up and say I’m going to coordinate a wedding again, just tell me, ‘Sit down, Fool!”
She loved to tell this story: In her church, they did an elaborate hand-out for funerals, and Ernie was the one who did them (probably because her husband owned a small printing company). She always talked about the “bereaved” family in them. When her youngest daughter was very little and kept hearing talk about the bereaved family, she commented that that Bereaved family must be a sickly bunch because so many members of the family kept dying!
Ernie is about 80 now, and I have just heard that she may have Alzheimer’s. But I know she will handle that just like she has always handled things — with grace, humor and faith. And I will always treasure the wisdom she shared with me about God and kids and life, in general.
Thank you, God, for Ernie.