Pure Focus

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8).

Is there anyone in your life who defines “pure in heart”? Helen Hines was that person in my life.

Later in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “If your eye (your will, intention) is single-focused (not scattered, distracted) then your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22). Helen was this. There were no distractions in her life. She didn’t have many material possessions, but never envied those who did.  Confronted by bad behaviors of people in a changing society, she didn’t condemn others, but kept her focus with God. When faced with life’s temptations, she reacted as she expected God wanted her to.

From the time she was a little girl, she knew God, and she knew the plans he had for her. She didn’t question them. Her life was simple but sincere. She had a great peace about her, much like Mother Teresa.

Helen Hines was my aunt. She never married. She never had children. She described herself as a child of God, giving so much of herself to God’s children.

During the 1960s, she taught Sunday school to the children of Calvary Lutheran Church in New Jersey. Most of these children are now in their sixties. Excavation removed the church last year, as members no longer filled the pews. As the walls came down, memories flowed through social media. Many were tributes to a favorite Sunday school teacher, Miss Hines!

Helen was one of those people who leaves a lasting impact on others by her pure goodness.

We all loved Miss Hines! She taught us the song “Jesus Loves Me.”

Miss Hines was wonderful. We had her as a Sunday school teacher, and she taught us how to love God and receive his grace.

To receive God’s gifts and see his holiness at such a young age was profound. Miss Hines not only taught us, she showed us the way.

I never expected to read these words some fifty years after she had taught these children and nearly twenty years after her death. My heart was full. I reflected once again on the peace I always felt around her.

One day, she knew she was having a heart attack and simply pulled the cord in her senior housing to get help. At the hospital, facing surgery, she was remarkably calm. She knew she might not ever get to go back home. Yet I overheard her saying, “Oh well, I will be home.” And so she went, two days later.

We felt her tranquility. We knew she put worry and fear aside. We loved the life she led. Helen was so pure in heart and she did see God.