Monday, August 24, 2009

Let Your Voice Be Heard

Happy Monday.

I was unsure of what to post about today. I had several small events occur over the weekend but decided that I would try to remain uplifting for the entire week. Those small things are really trivial in the big scheme of things.

I attended a ladies conference on Saturday. This conference was sponsored by our church and the topic was Stand Up & Go Forward. To be honest, this retreat was not at all "gender specific." The topic could really apply to all of our lives at one time or another.

One of our main discussions was about getting rid of the bondage in our lives - past and present. Bondage within us keeps us from moving forward and doing what we were intended to do. It's the ball-n-chain on our spirit.

Even more powerful is the fact that bondage prevents us from holding our head high and using the good of our lives to work in a positive manner with others.

Chef Ed and I have talked a lot about legacy's lately. I expressed to him how important it was for me to leave this world making a mark on someones heart. I want other's to remember me for the love and kindness that I had shown them. I want to be a giving soul willing to do the extreme for someone else even if it meant sacrificing my own needs a wants for a while.

Do you know Mary Sue Merchant? Have you ever heard of her?

Well, neither do I. But, right now, I'm gonna introduce you to her.

Mary Sue Merchant died of natural caused in a tightly locked house on 25 acres in a small community, with only a dog for company. Her small town is now reflecting on why no one noticed for 18 months.

No one knew the reclusive widow was gone - not even when the house was sold for back taxes while her decomposing body lay inside. Sometime later, the lonely dog died of thirst in the same room.

"We didn't know this lady existed," said the Sheriff.

Only after the body of this 72-year old woman was found last week did it occur to neighbors they hadn't seen her in a while.

"We've lost the community," said the Rev. Neil Flowers, who planned to talk about Merchant on Sunday at Beulah United Methodist church, a few miles from where Merchant died. "We do our own thing. We lead busy lives. We go and go and go.....and stay within our comfort zone."

By all means, Merchant and her husband kept to themselves. They had no children. The sheriff and coroner say one neighbor told them David Merchant was once a prison guard who feared retribution from former inmates - but officials couldn't confirm that. David Merchant died in October 1985 at age 53 and his widow apparently lost touch with her own older sister years ago.

Mail should have been a red flag. But Merchant had a post office box, so no mail piled up for neighbors or a carrier to notice. Her electricity was cut off in February 2008 after three months of unpaid bills.

Meanwhile, the brick ranch home sat partly obscured by trees and brush from the road. Merchant's white four-door Chevy parked in front and a faded "Beward of Dog" sign on a telephone pole.

Merchant's unpaid property taxes lead to her discovery.

It's sad to know that this lady had nobody who cared enough to check on her.

She had no voice. She had no encouragement. She had no respect.

I encourage you to reach out. Make your mark and in the end, long to hear the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

No other words will ever give such pleasure.

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