Remembering Sono Harris

Josh Harris posted information about his mother’s memorial service here.

I’ve tried several times over the past few weeks to put my thoughts down, but I feel somehow inarticulate, which is ironic when I consider Sono’s eloquence, every time I heard her speak.

She was such a welcoming person, I always felt warmed by her presence. Though our only meetings were at homeschool conferences and speech tournaments, where I was just one of a crowd, she once paid me the supreme compliment of recognition. She put a hand on my arm and told me I was such an encouragement to her, seeing me listening intently and taking notes in her workshops every year, drinking in exhortation and encouragement. (By February every year, I was thirsty indeed, struggling to keep on keeping on, and Sono always called me toward the higher ground, and gave me hope that I could make it there, so long as I was walking with our Savior.)

She was an encourager. She shared from her experiences, well seasoned with scripture. I first heard her speak at a local homeschool conference (I think it was one of the Winter Workshops that used to be put on in the doldrums of late February or early March, that time when homeschool burnout really starts to set in). It was our first year homeschooling, I think. I remember being bewildered by all these families, gathered in one place, parents and children moving between workshops like large schools of eddying fish.

Sono’s workshops were in an outside building, rather than in the church building proper, so that you had to brave the raw weather to get there. Once inside, her welcoming smile warmed the room. I remember one of her talks was about being the mother of twins.

Someone had shown her a picture of a birthday cake shaped like a barn, with eighty candles on it (that someone’s father? I think). She’d asked the significance of the candles. The cheerful reply was that when the person’s father was five years old, he and his twin had burned down their father’s barn! She went on to tell another story of twins, girls this time, who as small children had accidentally run over their mother. (Evidently the mother was unhurt, but I still hear Sono’s mischievous voice and see the twinkle in her eye as she recounted the tale, speaking in a little-girl voice: “You ran over Mommy!“)

I wondered where she was going with all this, when she wrapped up her wonderful storytelling with the announcement that her twins were now seven, and had neither burned down any buildings, nor run her over with the car! (So she was hopefully doing something right!)

Those twins she mentioned are all grown up now, encouragers themselves, with their Rebelution blog and Do Hard Things book and conferences. We first met her eldest son, Josh, when he took part on a “homeschooling high school” panel, before he’d written I Kissed Dating Goodbye. He was exhorting young people to have a vision for their life and go for it. Now he is a published author and pastor of his own church.  Her children are following in her example and her husband’s, in other words, following the Savior and making their lives count for Christ.

Hopefully doing something right? Seeing the fruit of her labors, I’d say so.


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