Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Yesterday, I wept for a woman named Jane.
Jane is the aunt of a very good friend of mine, E. E started dating our friend JKB last summer, shortly before my wedding. Around the holidays, we learned that E's Aunt Jane, who we all have come to know, love, and think of as our Aunt Jane, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The past five months, Aunt Jane has fought hard against this disease, but more importantly, Jane has lived. She continued to surround herself with friends and family, and still worried more about others than she did herself.
I only recently met Aunt Jane, but by becoming such good friends with E, I felt like I knew Aunt Jane my whole life. She was the kind of woman who inspired greatness in people. And when I say greatness, I do not mean material greatness, like being rich or famous, tho she may well have inspired that as well, but I mean spiritual greatness. Aunt Jane had such strong faith in God, and inspired everyone around her to do the same. She was a shining example of Jesus' love for everyone she ever met. I do not think Aunt Jane ever really met a stranger, that is just the kind of woman she was.
When Aunt Jane learned she was sick, she chose to have faith in God, and continue living the life He created for her. When the end was drawing near, she entered by surrendering her will to His, and being filled with His grace in return. She longed to be in Heaven with her Maker, and her loved ones who awaited her there. On her 69th birthday, she got her wish.
Yesterday, I attended Aunt Jane's funeral, in part to support E, in part to say goodbye to Aunt Jane, and in part to learn a powerful lesson that God needed me to learn. I sat in the church, which was pretty much filled to capacity, each person someone Aunt Jane had touched in some way. Hearts and eyes overflowed with tears, weeping for the loss of this tremendous woman. I can tell you, there was not a dry eye in the house. It was a beautiful service, filled with music and memories, just how Aunt Jane wanted it. And what I learned was this: every day, we have a choice. We have a choice to make the most of the life that God has given us. We have a choice to praise Him for our blessings, as well as for our burdens. We have an opportunity to have tremendous impact on others, and witness to them through our actions. So many people loved Aunt Jane, because of the choices she made to give love to them, willingly, freely, unconditionally. And I have the chance, each day, to make the same choice. We all do.
So, yesterday, I wept, for the loss of Aunt Jane.
Today, I rejoice for the gift of knowing her in the first place.
To E, though I know the coming months will present times of difficulty, know that Aunt Jane is with you still; you are the wonderful woman that you are in part because of Aunt Jane. All my love and prayers to you.