I wrote this a few years ago and just found it, hidden amidst some other works. I hope you enjoy it.
Two weeks ago my husband’s aunt passed away. His family is a close-knit family and the loss, very great. She was a “real lady, precious, merciful and full of compassion”, it was said of her, over and over again at her memorial service. One of the favorite attributes I heard given of her was by one of her granddaughters: “Even if she had only known you for two minutes, she already loved you.” And it was true. The first time I met her, I remember feeling just that… loved already.
I never had the opportunity to get to know her well, as she lived quite a ways from us, but I grew to count on her. I knew, that as well as her sister who is my mother in-law, she prayed unceasingly for us. I knew beyond a doubt that her prayers were heard and answered. She prayed for my husband, for me, and for our children and that, was a priceless gift.
Her life, like anyone I have ever known, was not without struggle. In her last few years, she endured physical trials of many sorts as she battled constant pain, failing knees, and finally, cancer. How absurd to think that she had been cleared of cancer only five weeks before it actually took her life for good. Life is hard and her life was no different. But, God is good and through her struggles, through her pain, she grew more beautiful as she continued to be a blessing and a witness of mercy and grace extended by a God who was in the process of transforming her into perfection.
Ahhh – transformation. The ordeal a caterpillar goes through before it becomes a butterfly. Wrapped up in its cocoon, it lives in a world surrounded by darkness, living on hope for a brighter day. Meanwhile, it struggles – day by day, moment by moment – in an attempt to become what it was created to be… a beautiful butterfly. It is only through the struggle that this magnificent creature, once considered a worm, becomes something of elegance and awesome beauty.
It is custom in the facility in which Aunt Ruth was being cared for, for the Hospice nurses to place a beautiful quilt over the loved as they are taken away on a gurney after they have passed from this life to the next. “Auntie”, as she was dearly known by so many, passed away on a Tuesday morning and shortly thereafter, the beautiful quilt was carefully laid atop of her. Sewn in several different colors of bright calicos, the design worked its way toward the center of the quilt, where several butterflies flittered about on a beautiful background.
How fitting, I thought. to take a life, so precious and not without struggle, and place such a covering over her body.The body that was her cocoon as she battled the pains of life. And as she battled, many watched as she lived without complaint and with grace and love, extending it to those who felt so loved within moments of meeting her.
It is said that God has begun a good work in us and will be faithful to complete it. I am confident of that truth, for He began a good work in Aunt Ruth and so many were witness to it. He also has been so faithful to complete it. For, when I looked at the picture of that quilt and saw the many butterflies sewn there in the center, I thought to myself, heaven must be filled with an array of many beautiful and elegant creatures that have been transformed into perfection. Creatures such as those butterflies that were once trapped inside bodies struggling through different trials and pains but who have now been set free.
And, I am sure one of the most precious of them all, is named Auntie.