Noelyn Bartlett’s funeral during the week brought us deeper in touch with her inspirational life. Noelyn’s network of friends and colleagues was both broad and deep, touching different aspects of her life, and spanning most of her lifetime. In addition, people of all ages, from children through to senior citizens, commented on Noelyn’s impact on their lives.
Noelyn’s physical difficulties began to appear in her third year of life, gradually removing much of her freedom of movement. Despite these growing physical limitations, Noelyn was not limited in her ability to achieve. She worked hard in paid employment, which she held down for over 15 years, enjoying the challenge and the camaraderie of the workplace. Her work manager commented on the respect with which she was held, and the determination which marked her approach to work. He often commented to Work Experience Students, “if you can achieve what Noelyn has achieved, you would be a world-beater.” And the testimony of loyal friendships and care through many years speaks of an achievement not reached by many.
We know well of Noelyn’s love for children, and the enjoyment she received from holding them as infants, and watching over them as they grow, all the while careful to ensure they did the right thing. Her love of sitting with them in church, and watching them play is well known. Similarly, her love of the morning tea following the service, with its opportunity to talk to others who would take the time to sit with her.
When we look for the hand of God, we are tempted to go to the places of comfort, the places of fine beauty or of grandeur. We look for God in power, in might, in great works of art, or beautiful words of prose or poetry. But in Jesus we are reminded that these are not the primary places where God is to be found. In Noelyn, God has been amongst us in a special way, speaking to us most powerfully through her life, which speaks as a gentle but powerful reminder of God’s grace.
Noelyn has indeed
shaped us as a community, setting a clear example of commitment and determination
to do the best with what God has given to each of us. In so doing, she
has shown us what it means to take time to be with people, to share with
them, and enjoy the life they have.
Noelyn will be greatly missed.
February 20, 2000
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