Wandering but not Lost

Sarah Hodges Stalls

Many times the toughest part of a job change is the people you leave behind. The relationships, the laughter and the comfort afforded by people you knew you could count on.

For me, Muriel Joyner was one of those people.

 Ms. Joyner was a custodian at Washington High School for 29 years. She came in every single day with her trademark smile and quick step that bordered on a sprint.

 No matter what task was at hand, Ms. Joyner took it head on and with a smile – every time.

Probably the busiest person on campus, Ms. Joyner always had time to lend another staff member a hand or pause with a student that simply was not having a good day.

She brightened a room simply by walking in. 

And it was evident she appreciated the people around her. She would tell you often, but she did not have to. Her actions spoke much louder.

Although teacher was not in her job title, she’ll never know just how much she taught us all simply by example. She walked by faith and showed the Golden Rule with her every word and move.

Ms. Joyner did not have a classroom of her own. But that did not keep her from teaching students, teachers and other co-workers how to work together and get along.

We really connected when she found out I was from Martin County and was fairly fluent in her homeland of Bertie County.

 Once I moved to Central Services and was no longer stationed at Washington High School, my new assignment frequently brought me back.

 Many times I would host events on campus that would cause Ms. Joyner and her crew extra work. She never minded.

Looking back, I believe she truly saw these events as a way to help me. And she did it with a true servants heart.

 Ms. Joyner was as much a part of Washington High School as the bricks holding up the building, and equally as strong.

 It was a dark day on campus when the call came. Ms. Joyner would not make the drive from Bertie County to Washington again. She had passed away.

Ms. Joyner had been at work just the day before.

I guess you never know. 

I am so thankful I could call Ms. Joyner my friend. 
Rest well my friend.

 She fought a good fight. She finished the race. And she kept the faith.

Thadd White is Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance and can be reached via email at twhite@ncweeklies.com.