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The heavenly tinkerbell

Jimmy Cochran Columnist

  For a few moments this past weekend, the world stopped. And was silent. And then while we cried, the angels lined up on the golden streets of heaven and welcomed Jeannemarie Love home. Rejoicing because they finally had a dancing tambourine player in the heavenly praise band. An angelic tinkerbell, if you will.

  Many call Tybee Island “the island of misfit toys.” I guess that is why I fit in so well and feel so at home. Once you begin to entrench yourself in the lives and places of the true residents, you realize and feel an acceptance that is like no other place. My warts and quirks are only accentuated by the strange lady across the street. My inconsistencies in music appreciation and worship style are highly enhanced by ... yep, you know ... the Tybee Church. And for a season of my life, Jeannmarie was one of the faces of the church. I only met and spoke with her a couple times, yet I feel like a great part of my life has been ripped away because I had worshipped with her online for many, many Sundays. A smiling, free-spirited, worshipping, dancing, rhythm instrument playing, smiling, breakfast serving, hugging, children-loving woman who embraced the spirit of Life. Loved by the “misfits” of the island.

  How many traditional churches do we know that dedicate an entire morning service to music, testimony and tears around the life of one individual? How many traditional preachers do we know that would give up their sermon time to remember a precious lady who had made a difference in so many people? The quirky and loving people of Tybee and Tybee Church do. And it was glorious and uplifting and, well, a time of worship.

  I was watching from my iPad in a large church sanctuary here in Conyers, GA, yet by some miracle of Godly transportation, I was there in Benny’s Tavern along with them. As people came and spoke of Jeannmarie’s life, I found myself wanting to call and give a word or two, but, that was not to be possible. So, I thought and reflected on all the times I worshipped along with her, and Samuel, and Stephen, and the rest of the worship leaders over the livestreaming each Sunday. Especially, I thought on the times I did get to talk and hug her when I was at the church.

  Her sister spoke of trying to explain the whole “thing” of her sister playing tambourine and singing and dancing in a church in a bar and found that people back home just couldn’t understand. I understand because my heart is there. I’ve seen the people they reach and minister to and, little by little, my heart is drawn back to the island. Because I admit I am a misfit toy. Like Jeannmarie. And Samuel. And Stephen. And Deeds. And Joe. And Davy. And Gordo. And Cupcake. And Sam and Jim. And so many others.

    And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy, the misfit toy. Hold me a spot in the band, Jeannmarie. I’ll be there someday.

  Jimmy Cochran is a resident of McDonough, author, musician and minister.



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