She would be embarrassed if I mentioned her name, and propriety dictates that it would be inappropriate to do so anyway. I hesitate to call her “anonymous” but maybe “Ann” in lieu of “Ann Nonimus” will do for now. Ann is a tiny widow, a soon to be an octogenarian, and a tireless servant of Jesus Christ. Over the past several years, she’s invested herself quietly in the lives of incarcerated women, women who seem beyond hope, the kind of women you know but wished you didn’t, the kind who represent the worst elements in our society.
Ann shuns the light others would shine on her. But her life shines with the beauty of Christ, and shines most brightly on the broken women she has helped mentor into followers of Jesus Christ. Her commitment to Him and to them never ends with a jailhouse conversion. She remains committed to those who graduate from iron bars and need a hand up to live successfully on the outside. But her prison ministry is not what I will remember her for. No, if I were to identify Ann’s greatest virtue, I’d point to her devotion to prayer. When Ann talks to God, He listens! Her honesty with God in prayer even in group settings is disarming and real.
But now Ann has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She has been given less than six months to live with us. Ann is about to embark on a trip with a friend to take in a few special sites, while she still has a measure of strength. But, it is more about her friend than it is about Ann. The truth is, as she told me last evening, with a smile that was wall to wall, “There are several who are praying for me, but I’m ready to go!” Ann has no bucket list, nor does she want or need one. She knows her destination. She is going to see Jesus, the consummate lover of her soul. She is headed to place called “Home.” She has reserved for her an inheritance in heaven that will not spoil or fade. There Ann will gaze upon her Savior’s unspeakable beauty, knowing the fullness of His joy. There is no shred of fear, worry or anxiety in her, because Ann has been and remains quite content to live her life as a smooth arrow hidden in the Savior’s quiver.