Thank God for ‘Balcony People’

By Curtis Shelburne: CNJ columnist

The Greater Muleplex — Muleshoe — the little but great community in which I live, lost a longtime citizen and dear friend this week.

 During the 21 years my family and I have lived here, just knowing that Inez Bobo’s heart was here and that she loved this place and us had been a precious blessing.

Inez was amazing. She was a businesswoman deluxe, and a hard worker whose hands never lacked for something to do and whose mind was always filled with ways to do even better what she always did so well. She never stopped thinking, never stopped growing, never stopped enlarging the beauty of her life and the lives of those around her. Inez was thedefinition of beauty and grace, silver-haired and regal in bearing but never condescending or anything less than wonderfully winsome and gracious, always ready to smile, and always a blessing.

When several years ago Inez’ health forced her to move 70 miles away from our community, she still loved it and never forgot any of us. I visited her on occasion. I wish I’d visited more. It was not at all unusual to get a wonderful note from her because she’d heard some news of our family. I wrote back, but I’m afraid I owed her one letter I never wrote. Maybe this column will do.

Inez was for me and this community what Joyce Landorf calls a “balcony person.” She was always either working right beside you or up in the balcony cheering you on in your life and work. Because of her and those like her, whatever you did, you did better and with greater joy and satisfaction. Being around Inez made you feel, and be, larger in spirit, better in every way.

At the center of Inez’ life and joy was her faith. She loved her Lord, loved his people and loved her church. Thank God, she was the kind of person who knew that doing all three with all of her heart was not only possible and her Christian duty, it was her joy. I never saw her moody or sullen, never heard her fuss or complain, or even voice one of those “concerns” that smells like a gripe.

Inez was like Christ and carried with her “the aroma of Christ,” as St. Paul puts it. Every year at Christmas and Easter, she sent all of our local churches—not just hers—a poinsettia or an Easter lily as she shared her joy and generously increased ours.

The only way Inez ever worried me is the way my favorite people have always worried me (Oh, me of little faith) — I worried about what her church and this community would do without her.

Let’s not worry. When God blesses you and with people like Inez, let’s just allow their example and God’s spirit to work in our hearts to make us more joyful and generous, gracious and loving and faithful, like them. Like Christ.

Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at