There is so much to say today, yet I struggle to find the words. Odd, really, because first of all, I am rarely at a loss for words and besides, there are so many questions and thoughts and feelings swirling inside of me, refusing to be buttoned up in a tidy place. But here I sit.
Today a close group of us are thinking about how a special someone- a living, breathing soul, who once had children and house plants and a brother and friendships, a devoted husband, hobbies and favorite songs- can be here one minute, with opinions and agendas and things to say, with life and blood pulsing through her body… and then in the next minute while the rest of us are fighting traffic, blow-drying our hair, standing in line or watching Seinfeld, be just plain gone from this earth. Oh sure, we are certain my beautiful aunt’s new home is with God because of choices she made while she was here but man, we will miss her while we are all still here fighting traffic, blow drying our hair, standing in line and watching Seinfeld.
After sitting with her the other day, just hours before she moved from earth and then getting the text from my cousin later that evening that she had left, I recounted all the things that made this sassy, edgy woman iconic in my mind. How she poured her 50-year-old body into a bikini to catch some waves, not caring what anyone thought. How my grandmother died with no bedsores on her body because my aunt painstakingly cared for her in her last days in a hospital bed in the middle of her living room. How this beach girl took on New York later in life as she managed the life and career of a Broadway songwriting icon. And how she taught me that, like the words of a song I recorded on my first album, when it’s all said and done, grace is what mattered to determine my destiny, not works.
Her passing this week emphasized this as I pondered the story she’d lived. Like most, hers was a day in and day out culmination of tasks, some big and important, but most, mundane, uneventful and quotidian. But the more I think about it, those small things just may matter at least as much, if not more than the big stuff because those seemingly insignificant tasks add up- unseen, mostly- but I believe our everyday choices bleed together and before we know it, our story has been written.
When the day comes when those I love lay my body to rest, I want my story to have mattered. I want the people in my life and those who might’ve been watching it to be able to say like the brilliant Shelley Pimentel did “… to be glad they existed on the page with me. (I want them) To feel loved. Fully. Leaps and bounds above even the kind of love we pay boatloads of money to find on the big screen. I want people to feel invested in and cared for and known and like their stories matter, matter a lot, to me too. And I want people, through my story, to somehow see God. To see Him moving and breathing and re-creating inside me. And to be drawn to experience the same.”
And so Auntie, as we say farewell to you today just above the beach you loved so much, I want you to know you mattered. A whole lot.
And keep your eye on the gate… we’ll be there soon.
God Himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the One sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!”
Revelation 21:3b-5a NLT
Sylvia Lange is a Christian women’s speaker who lives in Southern California.