Recently, Bill and I attended the funeral for his Aunt Dot. She lived to be 101 years old and endured the Great Depression, WWII, and a storehouse of national and international events, yet she lived her entire life within a 5-mile radius. At the age of 10 Dot became a member of her church and taught Sunday School for over 40 years. There are lots of missing pieces we don’t know about Dot’s life. For instance, who initially invited her to church? Her parents never had anything (as far as we know) to do with any church. Who grew her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ so that when she became an adult, she was the one who escorted to church each Sunday Bill and his sisters as soon as they were old enough to walk. She was the one who made sure her unchurched family of her nieces and nephew learned the books of the Bible, knew their Bible stories and she was the extra parent that Bill and his sisters needed. You see, even though she eventually married, Aunt Dot never had any of her children of her own. Bill’s parents had four children and worked really hard to put food on the table, but due to work schedules, they couldn’t be home for their kids after school. So, between the aunts, Bill and his sisters were split up for after school care at the aunts. Bill still remembers walking to Aunt Dot’s to be greeted with a simple supper of a can of Chef Boyardee and Dot wanting to hear all about his day at school. Dot poured lots of her life into others. She had grown up in a poor tenant farming family, never learned to drive, never had any higher education, but she loved Jesus and she loved people. If not for Aunt Dot, would Bill have become a minister? Would his oldest sister have gone on to work with kids and Sunday School for at least as many years as Aunt Dot?
Remember I said that Aunt Dot didn’t have an easy life? She was married, but not to a believer and their marriage was not an easy one. After Uncle Ken died, Dot made ends meet by sharing her apartment with her sister Janet, who like Ken, was also not inclined towards God. Yet, Aunt Dot still shone. When it became difficult for Janet and Dot to navigate the steps to their third-floor apartment, both she and Janet had to eventually move to a nursing home, one that was not on the top of the go-to places in Lancaster County. Yet I never heard Dot complain. She made friends right and left and enjoyed everything that was enjoyable about the facility. Even when her joints became frozen with arthritis and getting around was difficult, Aunt Dot still persevered. Her mind remained sharp till around this past Christmas when she became ill with pneumonia. So, as I sit here reflecting on Aunt Dot and her life, I pray that I would be half as effective in my walk with Christ as this woman who never drove, never had children, never had a career (except as a lunch lady), never traveled the world, and never was economically secure. Her only security was in the Lord Jesus Christ and for Him she brightly shone. I know Jesus warmly welcomed Dot to heaven March 31st and I think she is doing cartwheels in heaven.