About a year and a half ago, I wrote my first "Glimpses" article on here as my mom was dying from a terminal illness. Now, a similar thing is occurring. This time, it's my aunt, with an inoperable end-stage brain tumor. Her condition seems to be going downhill fairly fast. Her eyesight was the first symptom, having problems as much as seven months ago. But more recently -- in the past month or two, her short term memory was affected. Now, within the last week, she has become unable to move around and Hospice (God bless them) has provided care and a hospital bed in her home. She has been put on morphine for pain, which makes her (more?) groggy. Her husband (my uncle) seems prepared and mostly at peace, as are most of the rest of her family. Pretty much everyone involved is a Christian, so we all share the common bond of "this is not the end" and "life has an inherent value". But of course we also share in the pain and grief of a loved one whom we see fading in this life.
So, in the spirit of my former Glimpses, I want to reflect a little on my aunt as I knew her. There are increasingly few people in my life whom I can claim I have known for my entire life. My aunt is, of course, one of them. My primary memory of her is when my family & I would go over to her house for dinner occasionally. My aunt's a great cook, and her house has seen many many guests over the years I'm sure. When we went to visit, the meal was either followed by pie/cake and ice cream, or a board game, or often both. Once or twice we played one of her favorite games: chickenfoot, based on dominoes. ... I remember one time I got sick at her place (not because of the food I'm sure -- it's just one of those strange things that happen). Recently I remember going to their place in August or so and recording some thoughts about "the former days", about her life growing up on the farm, meeting her husband, etc. I am so glad now that I took the time to record those thoughts. To me, those are a part of her legacy...the many memories and anecdotes that she will leave behind. There are also memories of a few times when she and my uncle came over to our house to visit -- one of the very few guests we've had at our house, as my parents did not have the "gift of hospitality".
I want to celebrate these kind of legacies. I know in life I too often don't listen to people tell their stories -- whatever story it is that makes them feel unique, that makes them special. I listen as far as it relates to me, or as far as I can apply it to myself. But I don't always listen for the sake of listening, for the sake of learning of their legacy, although I claim to think about such personal legacies a lot.
So, I guess this goes out to all of you as another reminder, 1.5 years after the previous one: make your life count. Make your days count. Whatever you spend your days doing, I hope that you can say that you spent your time wisely, satisfyingly, and in a way that you think will benefit humanity here on earth and in heaven.
And may this be my Valentine's wish for you: tell people you love them, in whatever way is appropriate, if you do in fact care about them. Don't make it all about stupid candy or cheesy pickup lines. Make it about *reality*, about what it really means to share life with another. And don't forget to actually share your life. Don't just share somebody else's life by watching TV or movies or whatever, but actually share *your* life with your friends and loved ones. Make memories. Build a legacy with those around you, and for the world to see.
Although my aunt may not have thought much about "building a legacy", I think it will be clear that she did leave behind a powerful legacy -- a witness to the truth of God's Word and to the satisfaction of a life well lived for Him and for the service of those around her. Maybe we could all learn this from her: when we figure out how to live a legacy, we won't have to think about it very much, because it will be second nature to us.
Thanks for reading. I hope you can apply something you've read here to your life and honor my aunt by doing so. :-)