When I was a young wife and mother, I often told Steve: "When I grow up, I want to be just like Mary Quinn." Unfortunately, that never happened. Likely there are two reasons: 1) I still have not grown up, and 2) God just made ONE Mary Quinn.
( I love this photo of Mary (in the blue) with her husband and 4 children, Beth, Kent, Leigh, and Beverly. It was on the Facebook page of one of her children. I hope they'll forgive me for borrowing it).
I have been busy today preparing the music for her funeral, which will be in Hartselle tomorrow. I am joyful for Mary. She only had to live without "her sweetheart" Charles for 3 1/2 months, but much more importantly, she's with Jesus Who was/is her Savior and Lord. But, I am sad for her four children, her grandchildren, and her many friends.
I wondered what adjective to put beside her name in the title of this blog post because there are so many appropriate ones from which to choose. Sweet, kind, steady, smiling, inspirational, caring, loving, serene, consistent, impactful, exemplary. In truth, there is not a woman I've ever known who I admired more than Mary Quinn.
I met her in 1973 when Steve and I moved to Hartselle and joined First Baptist Church. For several years, she taught young married women in Sunday School, and I was fortunate to be in her class. I watched her as she made God's Word practical to all of us. Her family brought their pets to Steve (and he doctored Charles' cows), so I occasionally happened to be at the clinic when she and the kids were there with a dog. I watched her as she parented her children and sought Steve's advice. She also taught special education at Hartselle Junior High School during the years I was there as the chorus teacher. I watched her interact with students and colleagues. When I played for her children's weddings, I watched her as she supported each child and welcomed each in-law child. When I was at the piano on Sunday morning, I could see her in the congregation, and I watched her worship. In every circumstance, she was entirely consistent.
Mary had beautiful posture, so she held herself with dignity.
Mary's face reflected grace and serenity. I learned that she often suffered from debilitating headaches, yet she hid her pain, and I never heard her complain.
Mary's husband ALWAYS had a smile on his face, and I marveled at her contributions to his life and the unwavering love she showered on him that allowed that smile to be ever-present. I wanted that same smile on my own husband's face.
Mary's children obviously adored her. She never raised her voice. I was in awe of that fact.
Mary's faith and godliness were on display when her children went through trials, when she faced serious illness, and when church issues could have made her bitter. I well remember a time in 1988 when we found ourselves on different sides of a situation. She came to my house, not to scold or coerce but to listen and express her love.
In 50 years of knowing Mary, I never heard a single word of criticism or unkindness toward anyone. She was always interested in my family and what was going on in my life, and she never failed to tell me she loved me. What a treasure she was.
I will never grow up to be like Mary Quinn, but I will be forever thankful for the gift God gave the world when He put Mary in our lives.