Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Dear Aunt

Throughout my years as a child, I was very blessed to have a number of women in my life to help guide me in my faith life.  Each year on February 18th, I specifically think of one such lady because it is her birthday.  She came into my life at the age of three, but, in reality, I can’t remember a time that I haven’t known her.  My parents insisted I call her aunt out of respect and I still consider her a true aunt.  I also have a tremendous amount of respect for her to this day.
                As I mentioned before, my parents didn’t attend church.  I rode the bus to a protestant church.  Unfortunately, the bus didn’t run for special Christmas services.  Instead God sent me Aunt Betty.  The Christmas’ we stayed in Eureka, I would attend Midnight Mass at the Catholic Church with her and her family.  This was my favorite time of the year growing up.  I loved going to Mass celebrating the birth of baby Jesus.  The church sparkled and the love of God flowed.  I sat with a family.  When we moved, I missed those masses and all the time I spent with her.
                Aunt Betty introduced me to the Catholic faith in more than just this once a year ritual.  In my youth, I watched her take her children to church, lead them through their religious education, participate in Lent, and love the people around her.  The peace and kindness she displayed through her faith made me feel good, but it also made me feel lacking.  I always wanted to be like her when I grew up.  I wanted to be a part of Lent, have a first communion, and always be so positive.  I don’t remember her ever saying anything negative about other people.
                Well, I should clarify this last part.  She didn’t like the rainbow people who came to town one summer.  I can’t remember exactly, but they were a group of people into drugs that spent the warm months up north.  Her and my mother and all the mothers put a kibosh on all unsupervised outdoor activities.  We kids couldn’t go to the boat dock at the public beach on Glen Lake or wander the woods.   She also didn’t like when her husband and my dad took all of us kids to the Rexford bar after a day of hunting, fishing, or gathering wood.  In fact, this was the only time I saw her not be 100% loving to her husband.
                Though I never saw her pray, I know she did.  I believe the Rosary was a big part of her life.  And I know she prayed for me.  Of course, this is all from my feelings as a child and not a fact per say, but I am confident prayer was a big part of her life.  I also watched her as she dealt with difficult people.  There were a few in that tiny little town.  If I have succeeded in being a little like her, I am sure she had to pray for these difficult people.  But with her beautiful spirit, I bet she prayed for their faith.  I pray to be able to put up with them.
                To this day, I still work at being much like my Aunt Betty.  I attend church, participate in Lent, and guide my children in their faith.  I try very hard to love my husband 100%.  And I pray.  Quite a few years ago, she moved away from the lake and into town.  She is about one block from the Catholic Church.  I still want to be like her.  When I am her age, I want to live that close so I can walk to church every day.  Thank you Aunt Betty for all that you did for me as a child.  My faith is where it is today because of you.  I love you.
                Blessing to you all.

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