The Secret of Significance

It was standing room only last night.

And that’s just the way her memorial service should have been.

Sue Garland was worth coming out to celebrate.

The only way someone touches that many people that deeply is when Jesus is the source. And He most certainly, clearly, deliberately was her source.

Jesus was worth coming out to celebrate.

Dozens of people were saved, hundreds recommitted their hands to service, and we all left hoping that out lives could be lived as significantly as Sue’s.

The beautiful irony of significance is not knowing we are until we’re gone. It’s a life that daily honors the indwelling habitation of Christ, and puts others before one’s self.

I honestly think that Sue thought she was just an ordinary person. But a butterfly never does see the back of its own wings.

To everyone else, she was extraordinary. ch:

UPDATE: 10:25am – I pasted my article for local media this morning:

Hundreds Gather to Honor Sue Garland

Monday, September 19th 2011 – Written by Christopher Hopper

WATERTOWN, NY – There was standing room only last night as people gathered at New Life Christian Church to pay their respects to one of Watertown’s own. The late Sue Garland (01.14.1957 – 09.14.2011) died of heart failure in her home Wednesday morning at 423 South Massey St.

“We had over 500 people show up to honor her life,” said Kirk Gilchrist, senior pastor. “She was a remarkable woman who touched a lot of people through her Christ-like care.”

Those same sentiments were echoed throughout the night as friends and family members paid tribute to her from the podium.

“Her first thought was only to serve others,” said Debbie Allen, Clayton, NY. “We saw Jesus when we were around her.”

Steve Menard of Athens, GA, flew in with his wife and children to honor his late sister. “We were always trying to one-up each other,” he said. “Constantly happy, it was impossible to keep Sue down about anything.”

In his stately tribute to her, husband Ralph Garland charged couples in the audience to a lifestyle of selfless love. “Cherish one another. Don’t wait long to say ‘I’m sorry.’ Tell one another you love each other, and surrender your whole life to Jesus.”

Attendees were lead in a rousing chorus of “I Can Only Imagine,” hands lifted high, the sanctuary ringing with praises to God. A slideshow spanning five decades of Garland’s life played out over the big screens, and Eliza Gilhuly of Depauville sang “Amazing Grace.”

In his closing remarks, Pastor Gilchrist challenged the congregation to model Garland’s lifestyle. “Honor her life by living yours the way she did: serving Jesus.”

Funeral arrangements were made by Colarco Funeral Home. Additionally, Garland is succeeded by her sons Shane and Jeremy Marolf. ch:

 

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  • Barry Kukowski

    Ralph, I am so sorry to hear about Sue. I think back to when you first met her. Time sure has passed us by. I know you are of strong faith. Take care of yourself. Your friend Barry

  • That is wonderful!! May we all be inspired by the legacy she left behind!

  • Sandra G. Smith

    Sue Garland was a Friend and Sister in Christ and will be missed. A Friend I love Forever and Eternity.
    Thank you Jesus for taking Sue home with no suffering so she can rest in your arms.

    • Sandra G. Smith

      A Friend and Sister in Christ, Sue would have been overwhelmed to see all the love she inspired in everyone.

      • Sandra G. Smith

        It was overwhelming, the love that flowed for Sue at the Memorial Service

      • “Sue would have been overwhelmed to see all the love she inspired in everyone.”

        I so agree!

    • Thanks for sharing those kind words, Sandy. You were incredible last night. Well done. The Lord is so faithful.

  • Aaron Clemons

    To the family of sue I’m sorry for your loss. Sue was a child of God, I first met sue and ralph on the door to door senate race about year and a half ago. Ralph and Sue were very caring when I came to the house with a yard sgin. Sue you will be missed. In his peace.

    • Thanks, Aaron. Appreciate your kind remembrance. I will make sure the family gets this.

  • If we being limited [human] can see and love the extraordinary in Sue, how much more our Father in Heaven sees, loves, and lavishes over her right now. THANK YOU and PRAISE YOU LORD! And… Thank you Christopher for a BEAUTIFULLY written testimony to an EXTRAVAGANTLY BLESSED SISTER-IN-CHRIST. We’re all truly blessed…
    “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2

    • Thanks Julie. Appreciate your kind words. And love the Hebrews reminder.

  • Jessica pitcher

    I do visit new life with my family I met sue when she was battling cancer she is a great lady always had a bright smile even at the battle she was challenging an she was so determine she won it:) I just wanted her family to no they are in my prayers and may she rest in peace. At her final resting place

    • Thank you, Jessica. You’re right, she had an unbeatable smile! Amazing how she beat that cancer, too.

      I’ll make sure your words get to the family.

  • Mark Pultorak

    I have known Sue and Ralph for many years … lived up the street from them. May she rest in peace. Ralph … I share your loss. My Mom passed away a month ago. They are both in a better pleace now.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Mark. I’ll make sure Ralph gets this. Sorry to hear of your mother’s loss.

  • Tiffany menard duncan

    I can only wish and pray I’m half the women my aunt was.. You write so beautiful about her I appreciate all that you have wrote about her she would love it and then say I didn’t do all this on my own because that is the kind of person she was didn’t liked to be fussed over for doing the things she loved to do.. Thank you again ch for writing so beautiful about her 🙂

    • It’s totally my honor, Tiffany. You are related to a truly beautiful lady; I know you carry some of that same spiritual DNA. Blessings to you and yours!