Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Remembering Aunt Pat

Editor's Note My wife Christa wrote this after her Aunt Pat died 2 weeks ago. I was touched by her thoughts and am sharing them here with Christa's permission.

I have many memories of Aunt Pat. These are just a few that stand out in my mind when I think about the times I’ve spent with her:

When visiting Grandma Clay, you could always count on Aunt Pat’s sliding glass door to be unlocked and Aunt Pat awaiting your arrival. As soon as dad pulled the car into the driveway, my brother and I (and eventually, my sister) would jump out of the car and run into Aunt Pat’s house. “Well, look who’s here!” she would say and greet us with a big hug then send us on our way to Grandma Clay’s house. We would take off down the pathway through the garden and at the end of it we would turn around and wave to Aunt Pat who was standing on her back porch.

Aunt Pat had an amazing collection of salt & pepper shakers. It wasn’t hard to see that she was well liked and loved by family and friends. She probably received a set from everyone that knew her. I loved to look at them and guess who gave them to her. Sometimes we would play a game with the salt & pepper shakers. Aunt Pat would describe the set and it was my job to find the set on the wall. Even today, I cannot look at salt & pepper shakers without thinking of Aunt Pat.

In junior high, it was fashionable to wear canvas shoes without the shoe laces. Judging from the number of shoe laces that Aunt Pat would buy for me, her idea of shoe fashion was very different than mine. One day I received a package in the mail from Aunt Pat. There was a note that read: “I found the perfect shoe for you. Very fashionable, comfortable and no shoes laces required. Love, Aunt Pat.” Inside the box was a pair of purple, plastic “jelly” shoes. In all, Aunt Pat gave me a pink pair, yellow pair, and even a blue pair. Needless to say, the shoe laces eventually found their way back into my canvas shoes.

Of all the experiences that I have shared with Aunt Pat, my favorite memory was being one of her students during Vacation Bible School:

Imagine, for a moment, that it is the final evening of Vacation Bible School and the preschool class is about to take the stage. Just to the right of the stage stand the preschool teacher and her flock of preschoolers. The preschool teacher is my Aunt Pat. Her hair is darker not yet peppered with grey. Her smile reveals her youthful spirit not phased by the preschoolers brewing around her or the life of a grown-up. Aunt Pat herds her flock of preschoolers to the stage. Parents armed with Kodak cameras and handfuls of flashbulbs fill the pews. One preschooler waves fervently at his parents. Another stands frozen in place eyes glued to the carpet below her feet. Another announces his need to use the restroom. Despite the distractions, Aunt Pat is unwavering in her quest for order.

Aunt Pat locks eyes with each child standing on the stage. Her eyes are watchful and protective not impaired by her glasses or the distraction of aging. The sheer ability to herd the preschoolers to the stage is amazing. She has a gift with these little ones. Her love for these children is genuine and not just because I am one of the preschoolers. The children quickly and quietly form a line across the stage while Aunt Pat takes her place on the front pew. One by one the children recite the memory verses. When it is my turn I take the liberty to recite a verse from the Gospel according to Christa. While the words to the verse are not accurate, based on the reaction of Aunt Pat, the delivery and presentation is perfect. Flashes of lights fill the auditorium, wide smiles form on parents’ faces, and a grateful applause breaks out into an ovation. Aunt Pat is leading the ovation. She extends her arms toward her students and continues to applaud. She gathers her flock of preschoolers and ushers them off the stage.

Aunt Pat is one of my heroes of faith. She taught me that “Jesus Loves Me” is not only a song but a truth and a promise. She taught me the wisdom of building my life on the Rock. She taught me that legos, playdough, and felt boards often illustrate the gospel more clearly than the preacher. She taught me that you don’t have to color within the lines to be a follower of Jesus – He will accept you just as you are.

It is my prayer that I can, as a wife, sister, daughter, friend and Sunday school teacher, leave a legacy of faith like that of my Aunt Pat. It is a tall order to fill but one definitely worth striving for.


Blogger rebecca marie said...

oh, that was lovely to read. thank you for sharing that!

Wed May 10, 09:56:00 AM PDT  
Blogger kristi w said...

Thank you for sharing such precious thoughts of someone so dear to Christa.

Thu May 11, 08:59:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Carol said...

Wonderful thoughts about a fabulous lady, I am sure you will miss your Aunt Pat.

Thu May 11, 11:39:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Dawnette said...

Thanks for the tear drops!

Thu May 11, 01:57:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mike said...

This is a great testimony to a loved one! I can see the same words being said about YOU someday, Christa. You have that same character. Thank you for sharing with us!

Fri May 12, 12:39:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Amanda Peterson said...

Christa, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As I read your words, I had many thoughts of my own mother, grandmother, and several other women who have shaped my life on the Sunday morning circuit.

Sun May 14, 02:32:00 PM PDT  

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