I love talking to Virginia Howell about Auburn University sports, especially football. She KNOWS whereof she speaks, has season tickets to all the home games and goes to an impressive number of away games. She might not return home from a night game until the wee hours of Sunday morning, but you’ll still find her faithfully in Sunday School and in her seat in the choir loft after very little sleep the following morning. She may love Auburn sports, but she loves her church even more. Maybe I should add here that Virginia is 85 years old. Clearly, being both passionate and loyal have helped her find the path to the Fountain of Youth. Her eyes and mind are clear and sharp. She inspires me.
While working on a writing assignment from Desoto Magazine about Belhaven University’s Singing Christmas Tree performances presented continuously since 1933, I had the privilege of interviewing another octogenarian who’s full of passion and loyalty.
Ms. Bettye Quinn recalls attending the Singing Christmas Tree event in Jackson, Mississippi when she was only 3 years old. The lights and music enchanted her and sparked her imagination. Since that night in 1937 (four years after the tradition began), she hasn’t missed a single year of attending this performance. Once she finds her seat this year on the first weekend in December, that will add up to 82 STRAIGHT YEARS OF ATTENDANCE!!!
Not only does Ms. Quinn love the Christmas concert, she also loves Belhaven University. Currently, she is an associate professor of Education and Director of Elementary Education, a position she has held for over 50 years. After she was hired at Belhaven, she went to the choir director and asked if she could sing with the group. He agreed, and she was actually one of the performers for 10 years, adding her soprano voice to the majestic chorus consisting of about 100 singers.
As a child, she loved sitting as close to the tree as possible, but now, as a senior adult, she finds a more accessible place to watch and listen.
Remarkable commitment to a tradition. Passion for seeing it continue. Loyalty to those who make it happen.
What are YOU passionate about? What subjects/events/occasions cause you to enthusiastically jump on board? What causes have gained your unwavering loyalty?
Loyalty to a university is admirable. Being a passionate fan of a sports team or a Christmas concert is fun and energizing. But, I believe we’d all agree that our HIGHEST LOYALTY and our MOST INTENSE PASSION should be focused on God, on the teachings in His Word and on being obedient to His commands. What would it look like if our unwavering commitment to God matched — even surpassed — the other passions in our lives? Is it too much to suggest it would be world-changing?
Proverbs 3:3-5 (The Passion Translation) — “Hold on to loyal love and don’t let go, and be faithful to all that you’ve been taught.
Let your life be shaped by integrity, with truth written upon your heart.
4 That’s how you will find favor and understanding
with both God and men— you will gain the reputation of living life well.5 Trust in the Lord completely,
and do not rely on your own opinions.
With all your heart rely on Him to guide you,
and He will lead you in every decision you make.
Here is a link to my story in Desoto Magazine. https://issuu.com/desotomagazine/docs/desoto-november_issuu Story begins on page 24.