This week, I “lost” my Aunt Barbara. Curious how that word entered our language as a substitute for announcing someone has died, passed on or translated.
Spending precious time with family this week is such a treasure. I certainly realize that for me, my aunt will never be “lost” to me. She will always be a treasured memory and a special mentor figure. Right now, I am reading the 1st scroll from The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. I have the great honor to be a certified guide for the Master Key experience course, and the 2016 class has just begun. Practice of this scroll is just one of many great tools the course teaches to help each of us create a better life for ourselves and others.
As I read the scroll today, my aunt’s memory echoes through me. “Today I begin a new life. Today I shed my old skin which hath too long suffered … ” She fought cancer for many years and usually won, astounding many of us for decades with her strength. Now, as my cousin said, “She is cancer-free!”
Mandino writes, “Today I am born anew and my birthplace is a vineyard where there is fruit for all.” Today, I have no doubt in my mind that this is a great description of where she is now. She was always an example of care and concern for others and actively demonstrated her beliefs – as a Christian, as a caring member of the community. Aunt Barbara insisted that we never give her gifts, but told us toput the money into her favorite charities instead. She took in international students and gave her home to them as a place to live until they could integrate into the community. She served as a missionary in India, as a nurse, and even taught nursing during her career. And she travelled – around the world, some times by herself, just to share love. She insists that for her memorial service, no one is to wear black, only colors to celebrate her life.
The habits she built in her life were noble, loving, giving and bold. What a great role model she was, no is, for me. I was so fortunate that one of her habits was to make sure she and I had our aunt/niece time together. At least once a month over the last few years, she made a habit of making room for me on her calendar for a meal together, for time together at her place, for time just to share love, and encourage me in whatever project I was diving into next. I love that woman. I love her love for life. And every day, as Mandino suggests, as my Aunt Barbara exhibited in life, we can all begin every day with a new life, with new opportunity to give and be our best!