I John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
It is my turn to post the RevGal Friday Five. In two days my husband and I will have been married (ulp!) forty years. And, of course, Valentine's Day is coming soon so I'm thinking about love. So for today's everyone is asked to tell us about five people you love, people who will remain in your "heart" forever. This can be a friend, teacher, family member, mentor, pastor...
This is difficult, because my mind is sorting through dozens of wonderful people. I'll just pick the first five that come to mind as I type.
1. Mary Newbill. Mary was my Sunday School teacher when I was very small. Preschool, I think, or not much older. So more than fifty years later I can still see her tall, spare frame, her salt and pepper hair, her makeup-free but kind face, always with an expression of love and kindness. I was, in those days, not very well. I was also cross-eyed and nearly blind, and quite "pigeon toed." Pictures of me from the time show a pretty little girl, with thick dark hair, but...it is hard to be pretty with obvious problems, you know? I was a shy child, mostly because I couldn't see, I think. Anyway, I was already aware that not everyone was comfortable with me, though I did not understand why. Not so, Mary Newbill. When Mary looked at me she saw me. She made a point to talk with me, to greet me every Sunday, to send me little cards in the mail, to tell me how much Jesus loved me and what a lovely person I was. I believed her when she said Jesus loved me, because she obviously did. I will be sure to thank her when I see her on the other side.
2. My husband. We got married young. I was 20 and he was 19, and when I look at wedding pictures I shake my head--such babes in the woods we were! Our lives were planned to be very different than what they have turned out to be. He was going to be a career Marine. I was going to be the best little homemaker ever. We were, of course, going to live in California if we weren't stationed elsewhere. We did spend nine years in the Corps, but other than that--nothing has been what we expected. Except we are still in love, still putting up with each other, still kissing each other good night without fail...I love you, Ken!
3. Rosa Mae Wead. I don't know if I can exactly say I "love" her--except in a general sense. We were not close, though I wish we could have been. "Sister Wead" was the wife of Roy Wead, president of Trinity Bible College years ago. I was struggling with an increased sense of God's call in my life, struggling to believe that it was true that women could preach and teach and lead God's people. I was reading books and studying--but Rosa Mae Wead was the individual God used to show me, in a living form, what a strong, capable, gifted woman could do. She mentored me from afar. She was never arrogant, very classy and ladylike (maybe I thought all women preachers would be masculine), a loving wife and mother as well as a minister of the Word. She was dying of cancer when I took her "Women in Ministry" class. She was able to teach only a few classes of the course, as she grew rapidly worse. But it was enough. She walked in the power of the Holy Spirit like no one else I've ever known. One day she asked the class members why we were there. Many said they wanted to be good pastor's wives, etc. She grew visibly disturbed as woman after woman spoke of their "husband's ministry." Finally, she slammed her hands on the desk and said, LOUDLY, "Stop! Aren't ANY of you women called to PREACH?" She was staring (and pointing) directly at me. It was a life-changing moment. Another woman I'll thank when I reach eternity.
4. Of course, Trinity, our grandchild. Yes, all the sappy stuff you hear about being a grandparent is true. And she is beautiful, sweet, and brilliant. :-) But she is extra-special to me because of how and when she arrived. We did not think we would be grandparents, ever (long and painful story). We had endured a couple of years of profound sadness and loss and questions--and then our daughter announced that a baby was on the way--we were full of joy! And she has been the proverbial "ray of sunshine" ever since, restoring things in our hearts that were dormant, helping us smile on tough days, giving us hope for the future.
5. My mother. We had a difficult relationship. I loved her deeply when I was small, thinking she was the best mom in the world, right about everything, and I wanted to be just like her. As I grew older her significant dysfunction (another long and painful story) became increasingly evident. Life at our house was not happy, always unstable, and extremely confusing. She was, I knew, a wonderful warm-hearted, woman who passionately loved God and longed to be of service. She was also a recluse, deluded, sometimes cruel. She ignored me much of the time. The two sides didn't match. In her old age she came to live with us. It was a wonderful, difficult, lovely, bittersweet challenge--and sometimes a joy. I know she probably couldn't help her behavior. And now that she is gone I remember the woman she longed to be and usually was, at least at the end of her life. She blessed many people. I miss her very much. Someday we will talk and we will, finally, make sense of it all.
How about you?