One evening after work this week, I took a drive to my hometown to pay my final respects to my beloved cousin, Joan. She had been ravaged with Alzheimer’s for the past few years, but my heart was filled with the many good times I was blessed enough to share with her and her family.
Her mother and my grandmother were each one of ten siblings and so I was gifted with many cousins and great aunts and uncles. As I walked into the funeral home with a heavy heart, I was greeted by many familiar faces that I haven’t seen in a decade or more.
There were lots of smiles and happy greetings and lots of stories of Joan. She was truly one of the kindest, gentlest people I have ever known. She was one of those people my mama would say, “would give you the shirt off of her back.”
As I thought about the family visitation the following day, I thought about the peace that I felt there. There was a true peace that I felt from her children as well as from the other, many family members who were there. When I think of that part of my family, it’s always closely tied with my faith. They were always church goers. Faith was just a part of their lives. When I spoke to my 90-year-old great aunt, I thought of the times I went to church with her.
When I spoke to one of Joan’s daughters, also a strong woman of faith, peace seemed to radiate from her. I was strongly reminded that death for Christians marks the final step for our earthly journey, but it’s the first step into Eternity, where we will never be sick or old, where we will always be filled with peace and joy and where we will walk with Jesus everyday.
Joan was also an artist and I have had one of her paintings above my fireplace for as long as I have had a fireplace. It’s colorful like she was and it always makes me smile. As I sit and gaze at it, I am reminded to spread as much faith, love, and beauty wherever I can, because in the end, that’s what we are remembered for.
We all have some type of gift to share with the world. Joan did a wonderful job of sharing hers. We are all called to do the same. A life well spent and a painting, reminded me. Perhaps you needed reminding too.
Have an awesome day!