Never would he trust them again.”
— Mitch Denney from A Passion Redeemed
I won’t lie to you—this has been a pretty rough week. My precious 94-year-old Aunt Julie, for whom I was caretaker and who was like a mother to me after my own mother died when I was sixteen, went home to be with the Lord this week. It began with a midnight phone call on Saturday night that my aunt was listless and breathing hard, so Keith and I spent the night at the nursing home beside her bed because the nurses said she wouldn’t last the night. Of course, many of you will remember a month ago when AJ spent a week in the hospital where she almost died three times, making a liar out of the doctors and nurses over and over again. She was good at that! 🙂
She made a liar out of the nursing home nurses as well, it seems, who said her death was only hours away because she was in a open-eyed coma, eyes glazed and breathing shallow. Two days later, she passed away peacefully in her sleep, and I have spent the entire week making funeral arrangements and learning to let go of a very important woman in my life. The main thing that got me through was knowing that AJ is now dancing on streets of gold, hobnobbing with her mother and father and six siblings and her beloved husband, who died three years into their marriage. From the moment she went home, I saw her in my mind’s eye as the young woman in this picture, hugging those she loved who had all gone before her.
It doesn’t really seem like anything good can come from losing a loved one and planning a funeral, but you know what? Something good did come of it, over and above the fact that AJ is now playing Uno with Jesus (and beating him soundly if precedent has anything to say about it!). You see, I learned, like Mitch Denney in our quote above, that it’s wrong to trust surface impressions.
Little did I know that AJ’s funeral would bring me face to face with two people that I had preconceived ideas about based on surface impressions. Whether it was their cool manner with me, their association with certain people who did not like me or my own mistaken notion about their lifestyle that I didn’t particularly approve of, I made snap judgments that were not only wrong in God’s eyes, but they could have robbed me of getting to know two incredibly godly and wonderful people.
Why do we do that? Who knows? Maybe we don’t like the way they comb their hair. Or maybe we feel like they don’t like us, so we react accordingly. Whatever the reason, it took my aunt’s death to bring me into an emotional situation where barriers of judgment were dismantled and I was able to see the real people behind the facade I’d given them. And you know what? I am a MUCH richer person for getting to know them, even for just a day, and I shudder to think how many wonderful people I have missed out on because of shallow, selfish surface impressions.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Oh, how easily that rolls off our tongue, but how quickly we disregard its true meaning. With everything in me, I vow to try to recognize that tiny twist of unease or dislike that occasionally comes when I meet someone, praying that God will use it as a check to my spirit to give that person the benefit of the doubt, a clean slate like I want them to give me … and forgiveness when my slate is marred with infractions.
And so, I thank God for my Aunt Julie, for all the years I had her in my life and for all the joy and blessing she brought my way. And I thank God that even in her death, she — and our truly amazing God — are both blessing me still.
My deepest thanks for your prayers and your support during this difficult time.
NOTE: I am doing VERY limited giveaways this year, so I hope to see you at the following blogs this week!!!
SEPTEMBER 27-30, 2012:
Win your choice of any of my books including A Love Surrendered and my Christmas e-book A Light in the Window: An Irish Christmas Love Story at a blog interview/giveaway on BOOK REVIEW SISTERS blog at:
OCTOBER 1, 2012:
Win your choice of any of my books including A Love Surrendered and my Christmas e-book A Light in the Window: An Irish Christmas Love Story at a blog interview/giveaway on FICTION HERO FEATURES blog at:
OCTOBER 1-12, 2012:
Win your choice of any of my books including A Love Surrendered and my Christmas e-book A Light in the Window: An Irish Christmas Love Story at a blog interview/giveaway on WRITING FOR CHRIST: AN AUDIENCE OF ONE blog at:
OCTOBER 1-19, 2012: