CEF President, Patty Meyers, shares the story of two people who were instrumental in forming her faith. This essay will be part of a book celebrating the 50th anniversary of CEF. To submit your story honoring those who impacted your faith, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tacy and Wilbur were the pillars of the church in which I grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They were lay persons, not clergy. Tacy was my childhood Sunday school teacher. Wilbur taught the adult Bible study. They sang in the choir and played in the band. Their children were mostly grown-up and their hearts seemed to expand for others. I called them Gram and Gramps though we were not biologically related. They both instilled in me a love of the Bible. They helped form my faith in God and helped it to expand as I grew.
In addition to their service at the church, they were caregivers for my family. Whatever my parents knew about parenting they learned from Tacy and Wilbur. They were generous with their time, their home, and other resources. They provided child care and support for my siblings and me in numerous ways. Wilbur taught me that men could be kind and gentle, that they could listen and wipe away tears instead of causing them. Tacy taught my mom to crochet the most beautiful beaded doilies and how to braid hair. I loved to watch Tacy take down her braids at the end of the day and brush her soft gray hair.
My mother said that Tacy decided the day I was born that I had the fingers of a pianist, and so I did. They gave me my first piano when I was five years old. I’ve never been without a piano and have been a church musician most of my life. I started teaching Vacation Bible School at age 14. They modeled being faithful to God, to each other, and all God’s children. Because I found such comfort on their back porch swing, I have always had one in my homes. I even named my beloved Chihuahua Tacy; if it had been a boy, its name would be Wilbur.
I could tell many stories about them. I have only one photograph of them, taken Easter Sunday 1969, which I keep near my desk to look at every day. They were both “promoted to glory” in the early 1970s but I shall never forget them. They were very important to my faith formation and my development as a woman of God. Neither they nor their children likely knew how important they were, but their faithfulness is legendary.