SHARON’S CELEBRATION OF LIFE
Two weeks ago our family was joined by many friends, all of whom are precious to us, to celebrate the life of our dear Sharon. All six of our children, two of our grandchildren, and two son’s in laws gave tribute to Sharon (and another granddaughter and her husband led the worship). Each was wonderful…and then I spoke. First of all, I forgot to say thank you to everyone who came (thank you too for all who sent cards, called, emailed, and Facebooked messages). I am also grateful to everyone who came up to me afterward and said thank you in person.
Just preceding me in the line up of tributes was our daughter Stephanie who gave an overview of Sharon’s early years, how she gave her heart to Jesus at age five, and over the years prayed for her father to become a Christian. That’s where I was scheduled to come in and tell the good news that her father did became a Christian, a year or so after I did…but I forgot.
As I began to speak, the wind picked up my notes started blowing them off the podium where I laid them. Daughter Laina, sitting in the front row, made a terrific snatch out of the air, catching the first page. Then several more pages went flying. Meanwhile, water had been condensing on the tent covering the seating area, and suddenly a large amount of water dumped onto the computer controlling the sound and video. In desperation to wipe down and save the computer, the sound guy hit the play button and the video-song presentation began to play again. In my distraction I forgot to share not only how Sharon’s dad became a Christian but also several other bullet points I planned to cover.
I had worked hard to reduce my story of Sharon from my original 47 pages (our kids said, “Dad, you’ll lose everyone”) to six pages but the wind and water on the computer forced me to reduce it even further. Fortunately, the printed program recounts that Sharon’s dad did in fact become a Christian, and it covers some of the highlights of our years of ministry.
Perhaps the most beautiful point I forgot as I read from Sharon’s notes that I had found (from a talk she gave at our 50-year marriage mark) was this: “I NEVER SAW THE FULFILLMENT OF MY DREAM (TO BE A MEDICAL MISSIONARY); GOD REPLACED IT WITH A NEW DREAM.”
ONE MORE TRIBUTE TO SHARON (FROM OUR GODDAUGHTER PENNY STONE KORNREICH, NOW A MOTHER OF SIX HERSELF)
“A tribute to my loving Godmother, Sharon Morris.
I knew my lovely Godmother, Sharon, my entire life. My mind often returns to the early, formative years of my life when I spent so much time with her. I watched how she loved her family well. Your family, Linus, is one of the reasons I wanted so many children in my life. I wanted a home filled with love and overflowing with life; where the Lord’s presence was invited and honored, and where friends and strangers always felt they belonged.
Sharon is the one who lovingly cared for me when I was a baby and enthusiastically embraced me as a child. I viewed your home as my second home and your family as an extension of my family. Our families were so close that those lines were often blurred. Sharon treated me as her own.
Sharon was such a joyful homemaker. I loved seeing two women who I deeply loved, respected, and admired, my mom and Sharon, living life differently. Sharon taught me about hydrating fruit, planting flowers, sewing, knitting, and managing a large family. She loved being home and I loved watching her do it. I remember the many times I watched Sharon sit on the sofa with laundry piled high as she happily sorted through it. This was her domain, and she embraced it.
Sharon’s gentle voice, her loving touch, and her beautiful smile constantly displayed her inner beauty. The joy of the Lord was indeed her strength. Her laugh was life-giving, and her cheerfulness was contagious; brightening all the rooms in her home. I always knew when I stepped into the Morris home that I was not just welcome, but I belonged, was deeply loved, and was cherished.
Some of my fondest memories were spending the night, waking up on Saturday morning, and seeing Sharon in the kitchen making breakfast. I can still hear her voice echoing these words in a singing tune, “Good morning, Penny dear. Would you like some breakfast?” as she bustled around the kitchen. Or when I would come home with Leslie after school, she would greet me with, “Hello, Penny! How are you dear?” When Sharon spoke to me, her words were truly from her heart, and she spoke to me, as if I was the only one in the room. They were real, she meant them, and she sincerely desired an answer.
As an adult, you and Sharon have been a part of so many milestones in my life: my birth, my marriage, Toby’s birth, our time together after my dad’s death, and through the years your greatly anticipated visits to Summerville, Columbia, and Aiken, South Carolina. My children treasure Sharon and you, and I am so incredibly grateful for your presence in their lives.
Over the years we have shared so many wonderful conversations and beautiful memories. They always left me wanting more but feeling truly connected to you both. I will forever treasure those times together. Thank you for them.
When you have someone as special in your life as Sharon, she will always be missed. Sharon’s greatest gift to me was her unconditional love. She loved everyone that way, genuinely and selflessly. I was blessed to have been the recipient of her love.
I love you, Sharon. Thank you for loving me. One day, I will be with you, my dad, and Jesus forever.
Although I forgot a thing or two, fortunately the rest of our family gave wonderful tributes to Sharon, and nothing is lost to the Lord Jesus Christ with whom Sharon is forever. One thing I didn’t forget from Sharon’s notes were her closing words that woven through our story was God’s “mercy, grace, forgiveness, and restoration.”
Thank you for being part of our story to honor and serve Christ with gratefulness.
Linus (and Sharon)