My aunt completed her journey on earth and crossed the finish line to heaven this week. She had been a missionary for near thirty years. She left for the mission field when I was in my late teens. Two memories stand out when I think of my aunt. The first “stand-out memory” occurred when my family and I moved from PA to TX. I was in high school and upset about the move. On our way to TX, we stopped at my aunt’s house. I remember her coming into my room, sitting on the bed next to me, and talking. She attempted to comfort me, understand me, and help me see beyond my sorrow. I don’t remember what she said; but, I remember she loved me enough to take the time to talk with me and comfort me. She was available to me. Isn’t that what family is all about–loving one another enough to remain available, even during the times of sorrow? To comfort one another as the need arises? Sometimes it is not so much what we say as it is our mere presence that signifies love in family. My uncle kept us updated about my aunt on his blog. As I read his blogs, I realized that my aunt’s love extended well beyond her biological family. She loved everyone enough to take the time to be with them. She extended her family beyond mere biology to include friends everywhere she went. Her church family grew large and loving in response to her gracious love and availability.
Second, I remember the excitement in my aunt’s voice when she shared her passion–ministry in Papua New Guinea. She spoke with excitement and intensity about the people she loved in New Guinea. They became like family. No, not like family…in Christ, they are family. I am sure that my aunt is in heaven sharing her passion with angels right now. I look forward to the day when we all get to heaven and I can watch as my aunt is surrounded by her biological family and the extended family she created through her gracious love and availability.