My 91 year old Great Aunt Tena met Jesus face to face last week.

Doesn’t that just make you smile?

It does me. Actually, after I heard the news that she’d passed on, I couldn’t help but smile.

While she had quite the independent streak, what stuck out more to me, was how fiercely loyal she was.

Fiercely loyal.

And because some things are seldom spoke of I will honor her privacy in that. But when I reflect on her life here on earth, her loyalty will dominate the makeup of her character. She made choices to love and show compassion in the midst of situations I can’t consider.

She was widowed years ago and did not have any children. She was proper and neat and just a little bit opinionated. But aren’t we all, even just a little bit?

I remember the time I heard about Tena as a young lady who wore high heels all the time. Aha! I loved that…it’s hard to imagine what people are like 50 or more years prior! I only ever knew her to wear those old-lady lace up Soft Spot shoes with the big rubber soles. Imagine my surprise to find an old black & white picture of her, probably in her 20’s, but some sweet little platform heels! Kinda like the ones I bought last week, now that I think about it.

Just before our family moved to Tennessee four years ago, my mom took the girls and I over to her apartment to visit and say goodbye. I was expecting the usual offering of coffee and a cookie, and we would make polite conversation and say our goodbyes. All of that happened, just as I thought it would, but as our time together was coming to a close, she asked if she could pray for us. Of course I wanted that! I don’t know that I had ever heard her pray before, but she proceeded lay out one of the most beautiful prayers I’ve ever heard. It took me by complete surprise that my great aunt, so tiny and fragile could pray a prayer so powerful and moving. I knew immediately that her walk with the Lord must be deep and personal and very real and my perspective of how she lived her days shifted a bit.

Her transition into heaven occurred very peacefully. She just slept away. Can you imagine taking a nap and waking up in the presence of the Lord?! That’s how I wanna go right there! How gracious our heavenly Father was to her.

She was a wonderful charitable giver. She wasn’t wealthy by the world’s view, but she loved to give. Her whole life could be packed up in one suitcase. She just didn’t have much stuff. Some people may find that to be sad. Others may think it sounds freeing. But as much as she didn’t have according to others standards, I know better.

Her memorial service was today, and while my little family wasn’t there in attendance, today I remember her well. Her loyalty to others. Her quirkiness and charity and compassion.

And so instead of sending flowers in her memory, we have chosen to buy a pig. Unconventional, I know. However she loved animals and she loved to give, and Heifer International enables us to honor her in both those ways, while providing a source of income and future of self reliance for someone in another country. I think she would like it.

Actually, I think she’s probably too busy dancing up there to notice.

II Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”


~ by hthr on August 10, 2010.

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