Standing In The Driveway Waving Good-Bye

I have left.  And I have been left.  Leaving is usually easier.

When we’re the ones doing the leaving the journey lies before us.  There is often a sense of expectation, excitement.  Maybe a little anxiety.  But our attention is fixed on our destination.  When we’re the ones being left there’s little we can do.  In those instances where I’ve been left I find myself standing in the driveway, watching until the car is out of sight and then reluctantly returning to a house that suddenly seems too empty, too quiet.

Sometime in late 1995 or early 1996 I was sitting in my office at a radio station in Louisville, Kentucky.  I got a phone call from a woman who introduced herself as the new morning show host at a cross town radio station.  She told me she was a Christian, was originally from Louisville and had just recently moved back from Shreveport, Louisiana where she had been honored with a Country Music Association Disc Jockey of the Year Award.  She wanted to know if I could get her tickets to an upcoming Carman concert, and maybe get her backstage to meet the singer.  That was my introduction to Sheila Richards.

A few months later I was working with her, doing the morning show at that mainstream station across town.  When I came to Atlanta to be program director and do the morning show at J93.3 Sheila was my first choice as a co-host.  By then she had moved back to Shreveport to her old radio station.  It took a little convincing and a few phone conversations with a local pastor who told her to think about where she could have the biggest impact for the Kingdom of God.  Sheila liked that idea and accepted the job here.

Sheila loved lighthouses.  For her they were a reminder to “Let Your Light Shine.”

When you start your day with someone as many times as I did with Sheila, you get to know that person pretty well.  She was never afraid to ask for anything.  As her faith grew over the years she asked less often for herself and more often for others.  If there was a listener in need, a family going through a tough time, a single mom who needed a break, Sheila would ask on their behalf.

Looking back it’s hard to believe that it’s been some 16 years since that first phone call I had with Sheila. And now here we are, all of us who love her, who listened to her, standing in the driveway, watching as she gets ready to roll out of sight.  When she does, this old world is going to seem a little too empty, too quiet.  But we know her destination, and our hope and comfort comes in the knowing that one day we’ll be there with her.

Keep Jimmy and the rest of her family in your prayers in the coming days.  Our hope is sure and real.  But sometimes that quiet can be almost more than we’re able to bear.

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13 Replies to “Standing In The Driveway Waving Good-Bye”

  1. Anonymous

    It hurts us to let the ones we love go. But when they have fought the good fight and they look forward to the journey they are about to take, we can find comfort in that. Sheila will be greatly missed, but when we take our journey, we will see her again!

  2. Anonymous

    I was praying for Sheila a couple of days ago and I petitioned that if it was His will He would heal her body. As I continued to pray the Lord reminded me that He WILL heal Sheila’s body. It may not be here with us like we would want…but He has such a great plan for her and He will heal her pain! What a great comfort.

  3. Bernadette Brasseaux

    I first hear Sheila on KLove Radio in the middle of the night. when my husband lost his job and I would get up at 3-4am to pray. on day she was sharing the same thing about her husband losing his job. we became friend by email and letters. I sent her a few south Louisiana gifts (tabasco hot sauce) and others. I love her like a sister. I wish I could have met her in person. she encourraged me and was a good christian example. I pray for her family and I know God will see them though. as I always ended my letters to her. Sheila with christian love, I will miss you.

  4. Anonymous

    We can all learn so much from the loved ones God blesses us with to be in our lives. Sheila impacted so many by her upbeat,christian values and her love of the Lord. God used her in a powerful way to impact so many that needed to hear her over the Radio waves. Sheila’s life was a testamony of the love she had for the Lord
    She got it! Any many more will,because of her strength,courage,Love,that will live on in her memory. God Bless to all of you and may the Peace of God be with you as you go thru this time. Shalom Peace Many Blessings and prayers.x

  5. Sara

    In May I sat at hospice watching my mother “actively die”. It is a painful prcess for all involved. Now Moma and Sheila are at the party waiting for us to get there. My heart aches for Jimmy and her family and the J93.3 family, I know your pain. But JOY comes in the morning. My prayers are for yhe ones left behind. We all know that Sheila is in a better place…but we hurt for those we will be missing every day, at the table, sitting next to us on the sofa, riding and talking to us in the car, kissing us goodnight. God knows that and we seek comfort in HIM!

  6. Jan

    She is safe in the arms of Jesus now, she is healed, praise God! She will be missed, she was a joy to listen to! I’m praying for the family who is grieving at this time, just always remember the faith she had, its great to see and hear that there are alot of people out there who are saved and on their way to Heaven!! Sheila, we will see you again soon!! May God bless an comfort Sheila’s family!!! Love You all!!!

  7. Robert A. Reed

    “And I will rise, when He calls my name … no more sorrow, no more pain … I will rise on eagle’s wings … before my God fall on my knees … And rise, I will rise” to look into my Savior’s eyes and hear “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have fought the good fight, you have finished the race, you have kept the faith.” Now Sheila’s light shines before the mighty Lord Jesus she served, and pointed so many of us towards. You blessed us by letting us get to know you, Sheila, your joyous voice and wonderful laugh. We pray comfort and peace to your family, friends and J93.3 fans left “standing in the driveway.”

  8. Carol Joan Carpenter Kelley

    I wrote this for a friend who passed away last week but I want to share it because it fits Sheila too:

    God called you home early today, in His own time and His own way. I called a friend to share your sad fate and his words to me brought a smile to my face. He said I know you are sad for your dear friend, but just remember this is not the end. The life she lived and the testimony she gave let us all know that she was saved. She’s resting at peace in the arms of Jesus without the cares of this world that still beset us. While she is basking in the light of the Son, we are rushing around doing things that must be done. Even though you are sad for those left behind, I have something to say, I hope you won’t mind. I am truly sorry for your sad loss, but most of all I think I am jealous!

  9. Marilyn Teat

    I was so sad years ago when Jerry and Sheila were no longer the morning hosts. They were always my favorites and I loved hearing them each morning. Sheila was always so upbeat and caring about other people. She was the best announcer that I have ever encountered. I was thrilled when Jerry and Sheila came back. Now, I am sad again, but who can wish someone back when they have gone to heaven. The truth is they would not want to come back even if they could because heaven is soooo wonderful. She is walking the streets of gold having a ball enjoyed all its wonders. Her testimony is still here, and I pray that God will water the seeds that she planted for all who heard her voice and message will draw closer to Christ. It is what she would want!!!

  10. Kelley Benicoff

    What a wonderful legacy that Shelia left for all of us as she touched so many of our hearts.The example that Jesus used through her sickness,but yet she STILL found a way through all of her pain to LET HER LIGHT SHINE and minister to others.What an awesome example.I will miss her so much but I am over joyed at her entrance into the MIGHTY KINGDOM OF GOD!Heaven received a wonderful person and we will always live in the light of her example and legacy until we see her again.

  11. Karen Gresham

    Sheila had a huge impact on so many lives and will be truly missed. She was a true blessing at the YMCA and on J933. I will miss getting to hear her say the words “Let Your LIght Shine” on the radio before she got off and came on the next day. She will be missed so much but we can all have the reassurance we will see her again one day. Will be prayign for the family and friends and all her coworkers.

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