This past week, we went to Oklahoma to say, “Good-bye” to the last member of Ron’s mom’s generation. His Aunt Elda passed away…at age 97! He was asked to lead the graveside service.
It was delightful to be back with the family. We don’t often get to visit with them, but when we do, it is always delightful.
So Elda and Wes’s two daughters, a husband, their two children each and spouses and a total of six grandchildren gathered on Friday evening.
First we gathered for dinner, then went to the gravesite where her cremains were buried earlier in the day in a family cemetery…on a small hillside. She was laid to rest beside her husband of 67 years…a blessing in itself!
Their gravesite faced the setting sun! The girls described the setting of the graves as beautiful, but knew they were already dancing together in heaven! It was an especially meaningful metaphor since Elda was stricken with polio when she was in her 30’s, between the births of her two daughters.
It really was a beautiful setting. The sun was setting slowly and it was encouraging as we listened to the comfort of GOD’s Word…and were reminded of the truth Jesus spoke to Mary and Martha so many years ago…knowing that Lazarus would rise that day, but would eventually face death again one day.
“I am the resurrection and the life.
Whoever believes in me,
though he (or she) die,
yet shall he live, and
everyone who lives and believes in me
shall never die.
Do you believe this?
We sang a couple of Elda’s favorite hymns, one of the grandchildren read something, we remembered her life and Ron shared some promises from God’s Word closing with this benediction:
May the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding,
guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus.
By then, the sun was down.
We all went across the street to the home of one of Elda’s granddaughters for dessert, the little cousins played together, adults visited, ate and looked at photo albums before half the group had to head back home to northern Oklahoma. I enjoyed meeting some of the spouses I hadn’t met in person. It is fun to be related, even if only be marriage, to these people.
Closeness as a family doesn’t happen by accident
This was a family that made a point to get together over years of birthdays and anniversaries and graduations. It’s true they were basically in the one state (or on the border of it), but they were all busy still and yet made the effort to get together for all these big events.
It is a challenge to get together with family…especially if they are sprinkled around throughout the U.S. (or further) but it is worth the effort as cousins share memories of fun times together over the years.
Another uniting factor for this family was their faith
Having a faith that is the bedrock of the family is something great to look back on as well. Remembering the influence of Christian parents (if you had them) is a huge blessing. It’s true, parents can never be perfect, but their influence is often something we take for granted as we second-guess actions they did/didn’t do that we wished had been different.
Learning to accept the gifts GOD has given us for what they are instead of wishing for something different can be a challenge. How often do we just simply thank GOD for what He has given us instead of wishing we could tweak His gifts?
Think of the contentment you would have if you could just enjoy the gifts you have been given.
Take a moment to thank GOD for the blessing of your family.
If you had a Christian family, thank Him for the blessing and privilege of that heritage.
If you have a family, ask GOD for help as you seek to be intentional in passing this heritage on to your children for another generation.