Summary: This is a eulogy for my aunt who loved the Lord and was a true family person.
Eulogy Helen Bell 10/4/2010
John 14:1-6 2 Tim 4:6-10
Every now and then God’s blesses us with a person in our lives who touches us in such a way that we are never quite the same again. There is something about the person that seizes us with his or her presence, and somehow we know this is a safe place to be. My brothers and sisters I submit to you, that Helen Bell was such a person. It is amazing what all God placed inside of her during God’s creation of Helen inside the womb of Louise, whom most of us knew simply as Mother.
I can imagine, one of the young angels looking over and asking as God was forming her in the womb, “why is God taking a little longer time on that one.” The other more experienced angel responded, “oh that one there is going to be one of the special ones down there on the earth.” “How so?”
He responded, “God is making her with a voice that’s so strong with little a touch of thunder, that all her sisters, brothers kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews will tremble at the sound of her voice. Yet He’s put in her voice a tone so gentle that all of them will want to be alone with her in their time of need. God’s making her as strong as a rock, that will be unmovable in the face of the storms of life. Yet she will be as soft as cotton for someone to come and lean against in their time of sorrow.
God’s pouring into her a river of love that will never cease to run its course. Yet she will be dam, to stop the flow of injustice and do her best to turn a wrong into a right. “What you say?”
He’s preparing her to know what it is to be poor and to lack a full education. But she will know riches beyond the grasp of many and will have a wisdom that far exceeds a phd. “Can God really put all that into one person ,” the first angel asked? “Oh God can do anything,” said the other angel. Why this one’s name name is already written in the Lamb’s book of life.
“How can her name be there, when God isn’t finished making her yet.” “Oh the Master knows those who are His. For those who die in Christ have had their names written in the Book Of Life before the foundation of the world. He knows everyone of their days, before they even come into existence. Why don’t we take a coffee break, and watch how she lives her life.” “Wow, this is going to be an exciting coffee break, said the younger angel. Our God sure is an awesome God.”
Sisters and brothers, could we join in on a coffee break and look at just a slice of the life and legacy of Helen Bell. Born in Ga, during the height of Jim Crow Laws and segregation, she knew a little bit about racism and discrimination. She didn’t grow up on the rich side of town, but instead grew up in the bottom.
It was called the bottom, because it was about as low as you could get. When the river flooded in Ga, the creek was near the house, so the house got flooded too. Our family lived near the butcher pen where the slaughtered the animals. On a hot Ga night, the smell that came from the butcher pen from rottening meat in the trash cans was something you did not easily forget.
I think that’s why they family couldn’t wait to head for North Carolina and on to New York. Her mother had 13 kids which meant at times Helen, had to act in the role of a mother to some of her younger sisters and brothers. She developed a friendship with her own mother that grew into a relationship in which they acted more like sisters at times than mother and daughter.
This family had an abundance of poverty and many mouths to feed. There was many a night when the one who came home late for dinner, didn’t have any dinner left to eat. Yet it was a family that was rich in love. Her aunt Lil was always sending money back to Helen’s mother to help out with all those kids. It was in this sending back to help others, that the richness of our family’s sense of family began. One of the great things that came out of her sister’s Mabel’s death, leaving Sonnie and Adlene without a mother is that our family chose to always stand in the gap for each other with an open heart.
It didn’t matter if you were a Mobley, a Fowler, a Norris, A Willis, A Bell, a Hill, a Bascomb, a Dixon, a Maul, or any other of the new names that have found themselves on the family tree, We are Family. We know what it is to turn to each other in times of need. We’ve been taking care of each other for a long time.