The world lost an incredible person Friday, March 13. She was a woman who, at first, scared me when I first moved into the dorm. I was so not ready for the changes that were going to be taking place or the spiritual battle I was about face. But through it all, she, my dorm mom, was there to help and encourage me, pray for me, and admonish me. My life has been forever changed because of her.
I knew that when I received the news that she had passed on to Glory that I wanted to be there for her funeral. The only thing standing in the way was some 550 miles road, a reliable vehicle, and time off of my job. The Lord quickly allowed each of those things to fall into place and by Tuesday night, I was on my way.
So, Tuesday was a busy day in itself. I judged vocals all day in the ODACS competition and then asked my boss about taking Thursday and Friday off to attend the funeral. He okayed it and then the mad dash began. I had to send in my grades and then pack before a coworker came to my house to to give me a ride to the Metro. I made it MD in a timely manner to meet up with Jen. From there we had an uneventful 9-hour ride to IN.
Room 17. That's where all the single girls stay when they come back to visit. This is the second time I've stayed in that room. This time, I wasn't greeted by my beloved dorm mom.
I know that things change with time and that people are born and people die. I don't know why it's so hard to accept this when it occurs all the time. Jen kind of summed up some of my feelings in her blog. You can't go back. All we are left with is the memories (sometimes regrets) of a person's life.
I chuckle at a time that Mrs. Leslie was not happy with me. It was my freshman year and I was as independent as could be. I needed a tire changed on Hank the Tank and since I'm my father's daughter, I knew how to do it. The only thing I lacked was a good floor jack (I've never liked bumper jacks) so I asked a guy if I could borrow a jack. All he said was that a guy should do it (he didn't offer to do it). So, I changed the tire. I returned the jack and went back to the dorm. Mrs. Leslie was at the front desk and I mentioned to that I just finished changing my tire. She then told me that there was no reason for me to do that and that a guy should have done it for me. My independent mind was reeling. By my senior year, a number of guys had tried their hand at fixing Hank, and Mrs. Leslie and I were laughing about that freshman incident. She told me that she wanted to roll a huge tire across the rec room during the Christmas party just because of me. LOL! I forget the reason why she didn't.
It was very evident that Mrs. Leslie cared for all her girls. She often did little things (notes of encouragement, special treats) but the greatest thing she did was pray for her girls. I know I needed lots of prayer through my years there.
There are so many things I can remember about Mrs. Leslie. I volunteered to go visiting with her once and when we go to where the card said to go, no houses existed there. We just kind of laughed about it. I remember getting a note from her that was addressed to the "Energizer Bunny." I think that was the year I was working two jobs, 7 days a day week (at both jobs). I remember her telling the girls that worked the cleaning job (there were 4 of us at first) that we were allowed to go down to one of the empty rooms to continue sleeping when we got in real late. I enjoyed leaving a case of diet coke outside her apartment door "just because." I also enjoyed getting her thick, fluffy socks to replace her holey ones.
The dorm is not going to be the same. Ever. Mrs. Leslie was one-of-a-kind.
As I have said before, the feelings were bittersweet. While she will be terribly missed, I can rejoice in the fact that she is in Heaven, no more in pain. I was put at ease even more when I got to the dorm and went to the rec room to put something in the refrigerator. The Leslie's apartment is on the bottom floor and I heard lots of laughter coming from the family inside. There was no depressed sorrow of a death, but a celebration of life on the other side of that door. That's what a Christian's life should be like. We should be able to rejoice in the life that was, not the loss right now. Our loss is Heaven's gain.
Mrs. Leslie's life can be summed up by the verse: And of some have compassion, making a difference.
She sure has made a difference in my life.