Summary: This is a eulogy for a woman who believed in God but was not a part of a local church. She was greatly loved by her family and community.
Eloise Fergurson by Rick Gillespie-Mobley
On September 27, 1920, God decided to give the world a special gift in the form of a tiny little girl by the name of Eloise in a small section of place called Mississippi. The world had no idea at that time of the significance that little black baby girl was going to have on the lives of others. Only God could see the incredible power to love and to give that God had placed in that little girl who was so precious in His eyes.
Things were not always easy for Eloise as she grew up and passed through life. She encountered some things in her life that could either make her bitter or make her better. We are here tonight to celebrate because she made the choice to become better. Your negative circumstance do not have to destroy your desire for greatness. Eloise aspired for greatness by applying two of Jesus’ statements to her life.
In the bible when Jesus was just a few days away of giving up his life in death, so that we could today have eternal life, Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment of a new rule. He said, “I am giving you a new commandment, you are to love each other, as I have loved you.” He also told them a while later, “there is no greater love you can have, than to lay down your life for your friend.”
Eloise gave her life seeking to love others, especially children, and she chose on many occasions to lay down her life by putting the needs of others ahead of her own. For many who did not know what it was to have a loving mom, they found it in her. For those who did not have anyone to help with their kids in a time of need, they found it in her. For that one who did not have a winter coat or a pair of shoes, or a shoulder to cry on, Eloise made these things a reality by the giving of herself. She allowed herself to be so loving, that she was the whole community’s grandma.
We do not know when a simple act of kindness on our part is going to have a lasting influence or lesson on those who are with us. One day Eloise and Billy were on a city transit bus. A woman and her child got on the bus. But they did not have the money they needed to pay the fare. The bus driver was insisting that they would have to get off the bus. Whereas some of us would have said, “they knew they didn’t have the money to get on, why are they wasting our time”, Eloise took out her money, gave it to Billy, and told him to go quickly to the driver and pay the fare for them to stay on the bus.” In that moment in time, Eloise taught him the meaning of compassion that stayed with him all his life.
When you read the bible, you discover that Jesus cared greatly for those whom others didn’t think that highly of. Jesus loved people whom others had pushed aside. If you feel pushed aside, I want you to know that Jesus already cares about you tonight. No group was pushed aside any further in the first century than were children. The disciples wanted to stop people from bringing children to Jesus. But Jesus told them, let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
That same love that Jesus had for children, was birthed in the heart of Eloise. Here is a woman who had no children, who has had more children wanting to call her mom and grandma, than most mothers and grandmothers will ever know. She poured her heart into kids. There are use to be kids all over the city who can testify how she touched their lives with her love. There are parents who can testify, when they were not eligible for vouchers, Eloise would say bring the kids on anyways and we will work something out. She was the community safety net for our children, long before the government knew what the word safety net actually meant.
While others talk about it taking a village to raise a child, she was already doing it. The family kids and the kids in the neighborhood wanted to go and stay at her house. They just enjoyed being around her. One of the reasons is that she was a positive speaking person. You didn’t hear her putting people down with her words. She spoke with kindness in her voice. You could talk to her without feeling she was going to be judgmental. You knew she would be honest with you.