January 2, 1911 - October 14, 2003
The young girl followed the path to the place at the edge of the field, where the trees were swaying gracefully and the flowers were fragrant. In front of her, the path took a long turn first one way and another - a second trail was revealed. For a moment, she wondered which path she should choose, then down the dusty trail she proceeded, lifting her apron in the breeze.
The path seemed short, but it was not without thorns. She was now a young woman, and it was time to leave the comforts of her own family and decide what she would do with her life. The path that came to meet her was through the schoolhouse doors and brought many children yearning for her love and care and the understanding she gave so freely.
At the end of one busy spring day, as she walked from the schoolhouse, she came upon a different path and wondered if it would get her to her destination more quickly. She turned the corner looking for a shortcut when a car pulled alongside and a handsome young man with wavy red hair leaned out the open window and smiled at her saying, "I hope you're going my way. Can I give you a lift?" What would this new path bring, she wondered with a smile in her heart?
It was not long, and she fell in love with the young man, and he asked her to marry him; she answered, "Yes, this is the path I choose." Along that road, she encountered many sacrifices, but the family they had made together was loving and caring, and the man and woman accepted what came to them with honor for their God, and they were a good example to their children.
As this enduring path continued, the hardest choice soon came when the man took ill and the woman nursed him as best she could, but now he had to take a different path and her road was still on this earth with six children to care for - it was a rocky trail ahead.
But she accepted it with dignity and pride and now, with children raised, and students come and gone, another man she met. Hoping to have comfort and companionship in the golden years, she chose this new path so very different from the first. And again, a different path the man did take; he left this world behind, and the now older woman must remain once more.
In her lifetime, there were many paths for the woman, and she chose them bravely and with love and they gave her grace and beauty. And now, the final path was laid out for her. She approached it with contentment and acceptance. As she neared the entrance to the door, the light that shone was soft and golden. Glancing in, she saw a beautiful vision - the Lord God Almighty in all His glory standing before her looking upon her beauty. And the light that surrounded Him came from all of those who went before her - those whose lives she touched. And God said to her, "The paths that you have chosen have brought you here to me" and He was very pleased with her and beckoned her to enter. For a moment, she paused looking back at the beauty of the earth and those she left behind who fill this church today. Standing strong and graceful as a willow, she spoke with quiet fortitude, "Choose this path, it is the only one." And as she turned, her apron billowed gently in the breeze and the angels lifted her delicate soul into the arms of her God and Father.
With love, Your daughter Ellen
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