“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23)
We heard that Aunt Alice was losing ground, slowly fading from this life and making her way toward eternity with the dignity and grace that marked her years on earth. She was granted the grand reward of dying well, all her children and grandchildren surrounding her bedside like a laurel wreath a champion wears after the triumphant completion of an exhausting race. I imagine she has heard the Lord’s welcome and his affirmation of, “Well done, Daughter of mine.” But now we have opportunity to give her the praise she is due, to remember her generous heart, to recount the lessons she taught us on her journey through.
When we speak of Aunt Alice years from now, when we recount her remarkable life to those who never had the chance to know her, we will tell them that her hands were always busy doing good, always industrious, always at work. We will encourage them to have such a reputation too, to be known, as she will always be remembered, as a woman of strength and conviction who chose to wisely multiply whatever God entrusted into her hands.
We will remember her home that bulged at the seams with new people and old friends and countless family members. She kept her pantry stocked, her stove bubbling and her lengthy dining table full to the brim. Aunt Alice created feasts for eyes and palates in a matter of seconds and made it look easy. Somehow it seemed that in no time at all she had simply whipped up an elegant banquet for fifty or more souls fortunate enough to be invited to partake.
At various times in her 90 years Aunt Alice learned how to stretch a dollar and how to have an articulate conversation with reigning Queen Elizabeth II. We watched her care faithfully for her ailing mother and compassionately nurse her husband as he swiftly spiraled down from cancer. From her example we learned that in the tough places you hang on, you endure. You grip the hand of Jesus and choose to believe in his steadfast, unwavering, all-sufficient love amidst any disappointments and hardships he might ask you to bear along the way.
Aunt Alice is immersed in the glorious kingdom of heaven now, partaking in her unimaginable rewards. She leaves behind five children and their spouses who acknowledge their love for the Lord out loud and live for him boldly in a multitude of ways. Her grandchildren bless the lives of others and radiate that unusual loveliness that comes from growing up beneath the protective umbrella of a matriarch who held the family together in and out of storms. This lady with an indomitable spirit has left a legacy that will endure. We are richer for having known her; we have been marked by her brand of resolute strength. We praise God that his faithfulness is great and his mercies are new every morning, just as she taught us all through the years.
‘“The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, therefore I will hope in him” (Lamentations 3:24).
Elizabeth A. Mitchell