A heart that beats for others

Conward Farris and Tommy (Sr.)

I’ve had dozens of teachers and professors throughout my school days. They gave me their insights and expertise, but none had the wisdom of my father-in-law Conward Farris. It was in his “classroom” that I learned about the human heart. 

Classes began when his son and I met at college and Conward came to meet me. Even though I wasn't aware of it yet, my life would now include someone whose heart was unlike anyone else I had ever known. Conward was amazingly genuine. He'd ask a question and then truly care to hear my answer.

The next few years our talks continued. He might not have always agreed with me, but he never preached, instead he’d reflect with a wise story. He had to have seen my immaturity but never once did he make me feel inferior.  I was beginning to see this was due to his heart condition.

Conward was an elementary school principal. Each day, he’d usually be the first to arrive and the last one to leave.  He felt there was a special purpose for each student and every teacher had unique talents that he’d highlight. He’d help each one see it.

I can’t imagine the hours he invested beyond the school day. The times he’d keep the gym open so kids could have a place to play. The hours at night he’d catch up on his own work so he could be available to help others during the day.  School may have been his career, but people were his life.  It was his heart condition that caused so many lives to change.

Beyond the walls of the school were the boundaries of his community. Hurting people had a listening ear and a willing hand. When he saw a need, he found a way to help.  He had a heart that beat for others. Our growing families always had a loving grandpa, consistently available, faithful and strong--just like a steady heart beat.

I’ve seen what a heart beating for others can do, the strength of one heart offering life to another. Conward’s heart is bound with three cords: dedication, sacrifice and love. I guess that’s how his heart could work so hard and not grow weary.  How many lives has his beating heart helped?  Don’t know. But I do know that I’m the most fortunate daughter-in-law to have had a heart like his beat for me.

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