The Warbler passed away last week. She was one of the biggest reasons why I loved the Jefferson Ward in Murray, Utah. She had a name--it was Roxie--but Brad and I, with only respect and affection in our heart, called her The Warbler.
You couldn't miss it, really. Anyone new who participated in Sunday services could be seen perking up a bit when the singing began, because right there, in the smack-dab center of the chapel would be Roxie, singing loud and clear with all the feeling she could muster. I don't know how to describe it--not off-tune, not shrill; just signature Roxie. I loved her for that. I'm sure she knew she didn't have the finest singing voice, but she wasn't singing for herself, or anyone else in the room, for that matter. She was singing to her Heavenly Father, whom it was instantly apparent she had a tight relationship with.
I knew her for only the last three years of her life. Some people, when they reach the age of 91 might think it's their turn for a break. Not Roxie. This woman, in a four-foot-something frame, had a giant spirit. When a sister whom she visit taught fell ill and needed help, it was Roxie who let us in the Relief Society know. And before anyone else could help this sister, Roxie had already gone out to the store in her big boat of a car--with her head barely clearing the dashboard--to get some food and other items. A couple weeks before I moved, Roxie had a stroke and was put into a rehabilitation center. Her first comment to the Relief Society Presidency was her concern that she might not get her visiting teaching done that month!
Roxie also attended all the Enrichment Meetings. I got to sit next to her in March as we played a getting-to-know-you type board game. We all laughed and agreed when on one turn she chose the word Spunky to describe herself.
After her stroke, we all noticed the absence of her heartfelt singing. But her example remains. How many times have I not served with all my heart because of one of my perceived weaknesses, or because I worried how others would react? How many times have I ignored little promptings within me to serve a sister I visit teach? Maybe next time I'm prompted to bear my testimony, but try to talk myself out of it because I feel like a dork in front of all those people, maybe I'll gather up the courage to do it anyway...and I'll remember the beauty and sanctity of Roxie's warbling.