Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lent Day 10: Thankful for Auntie Molly

"She would have been 84 today," says Uncle Erich. We're laughing and sighing over wonderful memories of his wife and my "best auntie" Amalia. From what Mom tells me about her big sister, Auntie Molly was a cheerful happy girl. Uncle Erich confirms that she had lots of friends all her life.

Uncle Erich and Aunt Molly were a team, married over 50 years. In the opportunistic manner of youngsters, we felt bad that they didn't have kids of their own, but we were happy in their undivided affection. They'd let my cousin and me sit with them in church, take us home for flavorful home-cooked meals, and tuck us into thick feather-beds for sleepovers. In short, their home was a child's heaven.

I learned to pray by listening to them pray. I learned to cook by smell in the fragrance of their kitchen. I learned hospitality by watching them create meals and set the table for hundreds of guests. I learned beauty and decor from Auntie Molly's daring schemes: the crimson velvet drapes from their living room now hang in our chocolate-brown bedroom.

When I was 11, we moved across the country––so they never scolded me about boyfriends, modern styles, or anything else that bugs adults about teenagers. Our phone calls and visits were joyful and affirming. Their fervent prayers surrounded my days and guard my nights. Their godly examples reminded me that people with a heart for God have hope and a future.

God made us, called us to love and work, and guides our steps. He did not give these caring folk biological children but they have been spiritual father and mother to many of us.

This morning's BBC reported on a Kenyan family who cares for 49 orphans beyond their own three kids. I recognized that family's love and prayers from my own childhood, a haven of loving embraces, strict morality, high expectations, and kneeling together to talk to God. I just have to hear Uncle Erich's voice to have a flood of warm memories fill me to bursting. I often wish I could run across town to sit at his table for tea or invite him for dinner.

If you're single or childless, I appeal to you to find children who are hungry for attention and significance. My family was healthy and happy: Mom and Dad didn't neglect or abuse us. But that extra-special touch from my Auntie Molly and Uncle Erich colored my life-pages with enduring beauty.

Today, I thank God for those who––knowing how God loved us and gave his Son for us––share that love with others. You live your private moments and unheralded ordinary days filled with grace, generosity, and hospitality. We children never forget how you take us in, put up with our childhood messes, and make us feel like no one else in the world is more special than we are to you.

During Lent, grateful for the Savior's love, I can say about my sweet auntie on her birthday (and of my uncle, too), "I have seen Jesus reflected in you." Thank you!

Read more:
*God knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with him. Daniel 2:22

*Whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. Mark 4:22 (NIV)

Moravian Prayer: Revealing God, we know your intent is always to open yourself to us in every way imaginable. Help us to have the ears to hear and the eyes to see the truths that you are constantly laying out before us. Guide us to live in accordance with those truths. Amen.


  1. Read this twice, R. -- Needed this, it brought back very happy memories of a special person who left to be w/ Jesus back in 2000. I'm happy I thought of her today. It's brought back to my mind, many valuable & wise Christian actions/words from her
    Thank you. So much love sent your way.

  2. Glad to hear it, Julie. Many of us have older friends and relatives who pointed the way to Jesus and sound living.