"Share everything"... "Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you" ... "Flush" These are examples of the sage advice offered by Robert Fulghum on a framed poster that hangs in my school office, "Everything I needed to know I learned in kindergarten" Those brief words of wisdom outline with a bit of humor what some believe to be the most important lessons of life. For young and old, such lessons are etched forever in our memory. Some lessons were easy: "Take a nap every afternoon" Others more difficult: "Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody". But we learned them all in time. Perhaps the most difficult to accept is: "Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we".
Today, I welcome the opportunity to share some lessons taught by the life of Diane Lee. Lessons that many of us have learned because we had the occasion to watch Diane, Allison and Amy live their lives.
"Parents are a child's most important teacher".
Amy and Allison never had a choice. They came to church every Sunday, and any other day the doors were open. If the church or school was doing something...they were there; not just participating, they were working. Allison and Amy attended Meigs and J.T. Moore because Diane wanted them to be a part of a diverse community. Diane supported and valued public education and the girls were already being recognized for their accomplishments at school and in the community.
"Be tough minded yet tenderhearted".
Diane had a way of holding us accountable. She wasn't afraid to tell you how it was; to call on you to do the right thing and follow through. Come to the retreat, sign up for Bible study, sing in the choir. Diane is the reason I sing in the choir. She "needed my help" But Diane understood that the choir didn't need me as much as I needed the choir. We should probably all wear WWDD bracelets...What Would Diane DO? Her straight-forward call to task ultimately helped each of us feel better about ourselves and our commitment to Christ and His church.
"Remember: the lead sled dog is the only one with a decent view". Diane challenged us to lead and she always had the vision. She could see where we were going and many times would drag a whole pack of us along. I was happy to do the work, but please don't put me in charge. Diane embraced leadership. At home, in her church, and in her community.....
And what a lesson on laughter... Diane's smile and laughter was a gift from God. A good body laugh with Diane could exhaust you. Diane's willingness to laugh at herself and difficult situations inevitably eased the burden and lightened the emotional load.
"It is important to know you are a Christian, But it is more important to show you are a Christian".
Diane was all about giving to others, especially the needy. Year after year, Diane and Andy took the girls to some of the most underprivileged areas of Nashville to deliver Thanksgiving baskets, strip wallpaper and paint for recovering drug-addicted mothers, serve dinners to the homeless. Allison and Amy loved to sort food at the Second Harvest Food Bank. Always reaching out to others, always showing love to "the least of these".
Above all, Diane taught us, by showing us, to love each other and care for each other.
And so, to borrow once again from my office poster,
When we leave this service today, Diane would want us to..."go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together"