Thursday, June 10, 2010

Great Aunt Edie

My grandfather was a thoughtful, literary man, and when my mom came home one day in late high school bouncing off the walls and talking about Jesus, he thought she was crazy. Not that he was completely unfamiliar with a more enthusiastic Christianity - his sister, Edie, had almost died of rheumatic fevers when she was a small girl and had always claimed that when it had happened she had gone to heaven, where she had seen Jesus - but it was a little different when his own daughter brought Jesus into the home. It was all well and good for his sister, but my mom was saying things like, "I wonder what God wants me to do today?" convincing him that she had gone completely bonkers and needed to see a shrink. Nonetheless, it may have been the quiet influence of my mother and my grandfather's close, enduring relationship with his sister that resulted in the eventual conversion of he and my grandmother to Christianity... which ended up being a part of why I have always thought of myself as having come from a long line of Christians on both sides (my dad's family were Anabaptists who came to this country a loooong time ago looking for religious freedom).

Fast-forward a few years to today, when at his behest my son and I went up to my parents' attic, one of his most favoritest adventure zones. I was sitting there on the ground by a pile of books as he tried to bounce a rubber ball off my face whilst yelling "Yo-Yo" and my eyes chanced to rest upon this small, green, fabric-bound notebook. I picked it up, opened it, and to my surprise it accordioned out between the covers. On the first page, it said "Thoughts... set apart... for my beloved niece Martha Lee Milligan on the day of her wedding to Ronald Norman Barkey, July 14, 1973. With love, Aunt Edie."

I never really knew my Great Aunt Edie - only ever visited her once, when I was very young - but my mother had always spoken fondly of her. I took the book downstairs and asked my mom if she would mind if I borrowed it and copied some of it out. She had forgotten the book existed, but said that it was all right. I began to read through and found in her words a poetic suffusion of love. My Aunt Edie would likely have rolled her eyes at many of the cockamamie ideas I throw around on here, but I sensed in her writing a loving, thoughtful woman who understood something of what it means to marvel at the wondrous mystery of this life. Mom seems to think that these are her original words, so I decided to copy out some of her words and let you make of them what you will - to show you a glimpse of the heritage of my mind. The only thing I've changed is a bit of punctuation... she was perhaps a little overly fond of the ellipses.

And if you think to judge her faith, I only ask you this: keep your mouth shut. Love transcends systems of belief, and faith is too precious a gift to allow it to be besmirched openly on the cesspool of the internet. One thing I believe in is the power of family - so please... respect my family, or I will hammer your face with pointy words.

Thoughts from Great Aunt Edie:

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Death:


The parting of the Veil is not so difficult. I wonder why we fight it so... It's as natural as childbirth... only this time we move into a bigger realm. This time we move into an Eternal realm, where Life has no limits and Love is supreme.

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Free Choice:

It seems I hear an echo
of a plaintive call afar.
Is this the call of yesteryears
when men fought wars before?

We've come so short a distance
in so very long a time.
How disappointing we must be
to the Father of Mankind.

I guess it's up to you and me
to wrestle with this weight,
to spread God's word of love
and stamp out man's hate.

5/5/69

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Truth: 

"And the Truth shall make you free."  Truth... the foundation of Life... the frontier of faith... the ultimate in science, the pedestal for God.

11/21/66

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Faith:

Faith is the life-blood to all belief... to all renewal of the soul. Faith is the forerunner of love and hope... without faith, love could not exist; they go hand in hand. Faith kindles the flame that stirs man's soul; Faith hears the knock and opens the door. It's given... by Grace.

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A Helping Hand:

Oh, the love within our souls searches hungrily for God. We hear His great voice calling and go to answer Him. He beckons us to follow... we stumble as we go, not knowing quite the way. Then Christ gives us a hand and lifts us up to Him.

11/21/66

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Encountering God:

The stillness is His breath, the winds are His voice. In like manner, the unfolding of a bud or leaf proclaims His word. He is here... He is NOW.

God is, and that alone is sufficient. And in our small way, we ARE, and in that simplicity, the IMAGE finds its MAKER.

1/5/72

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Peace and quiet - gentleness and calm - waves lap gently upon the sands. God caresses... soothes... and satisfies.

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A Long Road to Go:


Love... I know love. I cherish love, want love, give love... but it's always on my terms!
            Real love is on His terms... compassion and action - keyed to include the unlovely.
Faith... I'm filled with faith, undaunted faith. Write about faith... teach faith... then fail to practice it!
            Real faith permeates every act. I know I am not alone. I am His hand... his foot... NOW.

Not my will... but Thy will.

8/18/67

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What is this thing called love... Like a river it flows bubbling and placid, then torrential and raging - a Force so powerful we both fear it and desire it. Yet Christ said, "Love casteth out fear!" What is this thing called Love?

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"...they were of one accord" ... interesting thought ... how often are we "of one accord"?

Pentecost was the result!

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Silence is essential to the well-being of the soul. We must touch the stillness of the Universe to understand ourselves.

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Out to pasture... we're always putting people out to pasture. One of these days we'll get the right perspective on youth and age... and eternity?

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God is within, Man is the superstructure! Life whittles away the rough edges until God claims His own.

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There's a quality of beauteous joy when love aboundeth in the heart and hope abideth in the Soul!

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What is it I want from Life - a bed to sleep in... a pillow beneath my head? Not really: a hand to clasp, a god to adore, a love that permeates and a life that radiates. That's what I want... food for the Soul!

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Pores open
I cry within
God is real
And I'm alive!

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Children:

Man's greatest humblers
Man's greatest heartaches
Man's greatest joy!
Loaned by God.

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A Prayer:


Oh, Thou great and glorious Heavenly Father, Master of all that is - creator of the Universe and the Atom... forgive our petty ways.
We, who are images of Thee, and seek to be gods of the earth... forgive us.
Open our hearts and minds that thy voice may be heard, and may it touch and fill all the reaches of our total beings that all we do may be through Thee and for Thee to the glory of Thy name.

Amen.

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That was it... all there was. I had thought to pick out a few and leave anything that seemed hokey out, but the whole thing ended up striking me as sweetly beautiful. I hope it brings you joy as well - the words of a woman who, it seems, walked only lightly on this earth.

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful reminder to me of my heritage and God's gift to me as a new Christ follower! Thanks for the gift. Love, Mom

    ReplyDelete

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