Dr. Laverne Wimberly documented her weekly attire on Facebook and shared an encouraging message along with it to help keep people motivated through the pandemic.
It's been a year since the pandemic hit pause on all our lives. It forced us to stay indoors, away from loved ones and from things we loved doing. Social distancing was a less than enjoyable experience for many of us but there were others who decided to make the best of the situation. Dr. Laverne Wimberly was one of them. The 82-year-old from Tulsa has not allowed the lack of physical church services to stop her from showing up in her "Sunday Best." Over the past 52 weeks, Wimberly has been attending virtual church and has dressed up for every single one of them.
“The morning of March 29 was our first Sunday that we did not have church in the sanctuary,” Wimberly said. “I just decided at that point I’m just going to get dressed as if I was going to church, so I would not get into the habit of just slouching around.” Most of us would have readily welcomed this stay-at-home opportunity to pray in our pajamas or even just skip the services altogether. Wimberly, on the other hand, was able to keep the sin of sloth at bay. Especially in these unprecedented times when there was so much uncertainty all around us, praying on a regular basis would have helped ease our minds at least.
Wimberly would then also upload a cheerful picture of herself in the meticulous attire that she wore every Sunday to Facebook. She even added words of encouragement along with her bright picture. “I wanted not only to keep myself motivated, but I wanted to help keep others motivated as well, to inspire them, encourage them, and kind of eradicate some types and forms of depression, isolation, fear, and despair,” she said. Wimberly was able to grasp the depth of the situation we were in early on and she was spot on with her motivations. It was not just about the outfits at all but her mindset to keep moving forward and looking ahead.
Wimberly was an educator. She worked as a teacher for a long-time and then was a principal and school administrator. Even with this dire situation, she continued to teach families important lessons about life. She encouraged them through the tough times that the pandemic left us with. As a senior citizen, she was more susceptible to the virus and had to spend time in isolation. But as it has been established, she made the best of the situation. The social distancing did not stop her from celebrating the holidays or her 82nd birthday. She threw herself a party, cut a birthday cake, and celebrated by herself.
Her happy demeanor was a welcome change to the other churchgoers who missed her bright smile. Minister of Worship Merton Huff said of Wimberly, “I would see Dr. Wimberly every Sunday morning. She was the first person in the sanctuary with me." Huff appreciated Wimberly's efforts every week. “I don’t think she has missed a Sunday of just devotionals, encouragement. It’s like she gives you a sermon before service even starts. It gives you something to focus on,” Huff said. “And, you know, of course, the dressing up, it made my kids get dressed.”
Throughout the year she even kept a journal of the outfits she wore in addition to documenting them online so she did not end up repeating any outfit. “I got a lot of feedback, more feedback than I wanted on the way I looked,” Wimberly said. “I really wanted them to focus on the message. I did have to say one time during one of those posts, to focus on the message rather than on me.” The energetic lady is now patiently waiting to go back to church. “As soon as the health officials and the scientists give us the green light that everything will be safe, I’ll probably be the first one in the door,” she said.
Cover Image Source: YouTube/Fox 13