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Glowing power of integrity

Last week I wrote an article, “The Day Mama Stopped Crying,” about a lovely woman who was a resident of LaGrange for many years. She so inspired my mother that when she would recall her friend, she remembered to be thankful and appreciative of the gifts of life. 

To be honest, I was surprised by the response to the story. Several folks wanted to know who she was, several told me they had known her, but all were inspired by mother’s inspirational friend, Gloria “Glo” Jackson.  I decided to reveal her last name because I felt it important to do so. Some heroines may live next door, and we may not recognize them as such until long after they no longer live next door. They become a name on a tombstone in a graveyard somewhere, and their heroism is forgotten. Their inspiration is quieted, and their lives tucked away into yesterday.

When I think about the fantastic folks who have inspired me with their stories of endurance through tribulation, their heroic endeavors, and inherent goodness, I want not to let them fade away. It is as if I would like to give a medal to all those who lived valiantly, courageously, dignified and inspiring lives so the rest of us could learn how to do the same. 

As a child, I loved to read biographies. I still do because of the real stories of those who gave what they could to make the world a better place. Fiction is entertainment, but truth is where we find the lessons to live by. 

Since I have been writing for the paper, I have had the pleasure of often bringing the past to the present with words. I have written columns about my family, friends, and folks whose own story inspires me to write about who they were and how important they still are. 

Folks die every second. Dying is a significant event, but the remarkable story is how significant one lived life. People like Gloria and all the others who are the caretakers, the givers, the joyful and the Godly who believe integrity is golden and would never trade it for power or gold are the ones we need to tell our children about. These are our heroes. These are the ones who in the end, live on in our memory and in our hearts.

Have you ever noticed it is the humblest of men and women whose words are quoted or immortalize in granite? Have you ever noticed a saintly friend who is quietly going through her days with her smiling face, and yet her good deeds are unknown and unsung? How many of those who crossed our path in life bore crosses with dignity and grace? These are the folks we should write about, look up to and respect. 

Next time I am in LaGrange I will place a bouquet of flowers by the granite that bears the name Jackson and tell Glo thank you for being one of those who realized early that glowing integrity was indeed golden, lasting and powerful.