How do you measure the impact a person has on your life? Perhaps it’s by the size of the hole that is in your heart once she is gone. My aunt Kay recently passed into the arms of her loving Savior, and by that measure, I am just beginning to realize the huge impact she had on me. Not only did she do the typical kinds of things an aunt does for a nephew (babysit me, spoil me, punish me, love me, etc.), there are specific things she did that I know changed the course of my life forever. For example, I was in love with a young lady back in high school, and I was determined to marry her. However, my aunt Kay took me aside one day and had a long talk with me. She explained to me why this young lady would not be good for me. Amazingly enough, I ended up listening to her, and as a result, I was able to meet and marry Kathleen, who is truly my perfect match.
But it’s more than the babysitting, spoiling, punishing, and expert advice. It’s that, along with my parents, she modeled what sacrificial and unconditional love is all about. Some people say they love their family, but aunt Kay really meant it. She showed how much she meant it by regularly giving up her own time, money, and pleasure for the sake of another family member.
She also showed me that love is not something we give when someone does the right thing. It is something we give regardless of what the other is doing. I can think of dozens of times she reared up like a mother bear protecting her cubs when I griped and complained about someone in the family. She didn’t tolerate such nonsense, because as far as she was concerned, we are supposed to love our family unconditionally. There were simply no ifs ands or buts about it.
She also showed me the value of simple faith. Aunt Kay was a very smart woman; she was even a teacher at one time. However, she didn’t like to overanalyze the Christian faith. To her, it was very simple. Jesus loved her, and she loved Jesus. That’s all there was to it. As a former atheist who essentially had to be argued into the Kingdom, I learned from her that there is more to being a Christian than knowing and believing the right things.
Now that she is gone, I will no longer have the benefit of her example. I will no longer have the benefit of her counsel. I will no longer have the benefit of her laughter. I will no longer have the benefit of her love. I know there are many in heaven who are rejoicing at her arrival, but here on earth, this mortal can do nothing but weep.