Fri 16 Jan 2015
Some of you reading this do not know Sheila Robertson. Hopefully you will know her a little better if you read this.
The picture in her obituary said it all, and if you saw it, you would understand. There she was, in her red tinted wig, the one she wore to the Christmas party. What it said was, “Here is a free spirit.” And that’s what Sheila was. Both she and Ben had their own motorcycles. Her’s was one of those beauties with two wheels on the front.
She was not about frills and things like that. She was, first of all, about people, or as Ben said, “Fellowship.” If you said “Party” Sheila said, “Where?” She introduced more than a few people to Tai food restaurants, which was one of her favorite foods.
She drew people out of their shells and made them feel valued. She accepted people for what they were. That did not mean she didn’t want to help them grow into a better person, but she loved them as they were.
She had a strong conviction about right and wrong, but it was primarily on the level of how people judged and prejudged others. If you were hurting, she was there to help, not judge. I never heard her even get close to making a judgmental, or prejudiced remark about someone based on color, sexuality, nationality, race, ethnicity, religion or politics. Did she have opinions? Yes. But if you disagreed, she let you, even if down deep inside she thought she was right. What was known was that her feelings were based on what she really believed was best for you. But if you didn’t agree, that didn’t cause her to not care about you. I don’t think there was much of anything she wouldn’t do to help man or beast.
I first met her and Ben at Camp Alta Mons. Their daughter, Darci, was attending with some other young folks from Blacksburg, where the Robertsons were worshiping at the time. One night during the week was skit, or talent night, and parents were invited.
In a skit developed by some kids from one of the attending congregations, a girl was selected from the group to participate. At some point she was asked to get down on her hands and knees and simulate a dog, and obey the commands of her master, the boy who developed the skit. I was uneasy with what I saw developing, but I was not the director that year, and, in situations like that, we sometimes foolishly expect someone else to do what we should do ourselves. So I watched, hoping it would end quickly. But it didn’t.
Sheila and Ben were there, and Sheila called out the youth minister from Blacksburg and we could hear her doing what we should have done, except she was doing it louder. Needless to say, from that point on every skit had to be approved and meet certain standards.
If I needed something to describe Sheila, I’d say she was gold, coated with brass. She was up front with everything she did. She’d toss her head and gave a wave of the hand, and said what she thought. It might have been seen as flippant, but it wasn’t. It was her way of expressing her thinking and letting you know it was not going to be a serious problem if you didn’t agree.
I’m not sure how, or even why, but she found a favorite pew. Don’t we all? But the end cap on this one, again, I don’t know how or why, was not glued down. So on Sunday mornings when I stopped by to greet her, I always lifted the cap, and she would smile and look at me as if to say, “Of course.”
She died on Saturday afternoon, January 10. The next day, Sunday, we spent time remembering her and mourning together. The pew end cap was removed as a symbol of her absence. After a period of reflection and memory, it will be permanently attached.
Sheila had a sense about who needed her help. Her ability to do that came from her accepting attitude for the person. She and Ben believed that everyone should be welcomed regardless of where they were, or who they were on life’s journey, and she had a keen sense about the underdog, the left-outs and the overlooked. They were her people.
An avid reader, about four years ago she volunteered at the Williamson Road Branch of the Public Library. The first thing I was told when I talked to them was that she brought them so much joy and laughter. There was no doubt about how loved she was, because each thing I was told was told holding back tears.
They said Sheila always brought treats. (Remember her nickname was the “Cookie lady.) She prepared the story-time materials and crafts. She loved preparing the children’s programs and the Halloween Party. She helped with what is called the “Send List,” which involved sending materials to other libraries. She hated it. But she did it, allowing her dislike for it to become a source of laughter.
She arrived early so she could sit around talk and have fun before the library opened. It was a joke, one accidently repeated and soundly reminded, that they would lock her out. It seems that sometimes they would forget to unlock the back door so she could come in. Of course, she let them know about how they didn’t want her.
All of those who worked with her at the library said she was so much fun, so helpful and so willing to do whatever they asked, and that the children’s program was her favorite thing to do, other than bringing them treats. For those of you who know Sheila, I was also told she introduced them to exotic food places in Roanoke.
In all years the Robertsons have been with us I don’t think they missed a fellowship meal. Sheila loved being with people . She and Ben were part of the Peaks of Otter hike and picnic each October. No matter how cold, they were there.
One of the symbols of heaven is a party, a feast with all the others who are there. Sheila will be a grand addition to that and will bring both joy and laughter.
CONCERNS: Keep Ben Robertson in your prayers as he deals with Sheila’s death. Helen Nicklas’ health is rapidly failing. Keep the Bolin’s in your prayers. Leena’s aunt, Lee Nicklas is also being treated for leukemia. Remember also, Roger Fisher, Betty Foy’s sister, Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson, Gil Richardson and Rich Crites. Jim Hunter is having diabetes related issues and is hopeful for good medical results. Keep Deana McRoy in your prayers that her aggressive cancer does not return. Kim Hall’s friend, Mary, who has MS. Also Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, Mary Smith, Mrs Matara and Tom Baumgardner, as he awaits a kidney transplant.
OUR DAILY BREAD: JANUARY 19-24
Monday: Genesis 28:10-22
Tuesday: Matthew 18:1-14
Wednesday: Luke 5:1-12
Thursday: II Samuel 12:15-25
Friday: Acts 19:23-41
OUR DAILY BREAD: JANUARY 26-31
Monday: Genesis 2:1-14
Tuesday: Matthew 3:1-17
Wednesday: I Thess. 3:1-13
Thursday: Matthew 2:28-44
Friday: II Peter 1:16-2:10
Saturday: Psalm 33:1-22
The congregation was shaken and saddened by the sudden death of Sheila Robertson, who died suddenly after non-life threatening surgery on Saturday.
Our hearts go out to Ben and all the family during this time of grief and loss. The funeral was Thursday. Much of her eulogy makes up the article in the bulletin. ALSO: To Jo Wagner, who’s brother-in-law, John Powell, died on the 7th in Florence, SC.
THE COMMUNITY BIBLE STUDY CLASS
The Community Bible Study Class got off to a great start last Sunday. More chairs needed to be brought in, and several more are expected today.
The process is to read through the New Testament in forty days. The text is set in book form, without chapter and verse. The structure is to read in something of a chronological order, starting with the book of Luke, then Acts, and so on. It involves reading eleven pages a day, and then in the class discussing what was read, and concentrating on five questions about the text. If you haven’t started, you may come at any time, but the sooner the better. All materials are available. See Susan Jordan
Susan Jordan has agreed to come in each month to check and rectify the financial situation via QuickBooks. We have been wanting someone to do this for some time, so thanks, Susan
We have only one or two more directory cards that have not yet been turned in. So we can anticipate starting the new directory at least by the end of the month. At this point, Keith will contact those who have not yet turned in a card. Pictures will start soon.
IF YOU’D LIKE TO HELP
Kevin Cornett and his wife are hosting a Pampered Chef party. If you are interested, a card is on the table in the foyer with the time and place.
Today 1/18 is Super Sunday. Hopefully there will be enough dry wood for us to have a nice warm fire in the fireplace. Plan to stay for the fellowship meal following the service..