Her birthday was December 19, just one day after mine. Because of that, and because kids tend to think the day is somewhat significant, I have always felt a closeness to her. That and because she was my aunt meant I could tell her almost anything and not get in trouble for it. Aunts are supposed to fill that place in a kid's life, I guess. They are supposed to be a non-parent, family-type who can get away with spoiling their niece or nephew and listen to them complain about everything under the sun - including secret opinions of other relatives.
Aunt Lydia loved beauty. She always had growing things spread around her house - perhaps I got a little touch of that in me. I love the magic of planting and growing - of seeing photosynthesis erupting before my very eyes in matters of days and even hours. She cared very much about aesthetics - something I'm sure I would do well to take up, someday!
But more than beauty, birds, flowers and such she loved Jesus. She would putter around her kitchen and yard and I would hear her singing. She couldn't hardly get past a checkout lane without greeting the cashier and intentionally calling her by name and handing her a tract. I've never been a great tract-giver. But watching Aunt Lydia in action, I wished I were! She had a boldness about her witness that made an impression on me.
She loved to worship. She hated to miss the fellowship of believers at her place of worship. I would watch her sit there and just close her eyes and drink it all in - the slow, acappella singing and simple harmonious songs. Her heart soared in worship, because she adored Jesus with a depth of passion that shows up the rest of us, when we fail to enter into worship with uncluttered hearts and distracted minds. She had developed well this habit - the discipline of full focused attention on her Lord Jesus Who loved her and gave Himself for her. She would sometimes comment about those who didn't eagerly embrace church life, 'Well, they just aren't Gospel Greedy.' I have often reflected on that phrase - we think of greed as negative. But for her it was an appetite that couldn't be fully met - her hunger to reflect on, to live out, to revel in, to nurture her soul upon the Gospel was a primary drive in her life. Her heart was centered on the Gospel. We would do well to follow her in this.
She loved her family, and I'm sure they felt it. I can't speak for them, but I know she loved me. She made every effort to come see us when it was too much for our family of seven to trek down to Florida - even though it was difficult for her. I remember her holding Hannah after she was born. She was only able to come for a few days and that is the last time I saw her. She impressed on me the great privilege and obligation I now had to care for these 5 gifts from God. She loved to teach children - and the strongest point of her teaching ability came from her deep, warm-hearted love for each child. She diligently prayed for us and reminded us of her love and care.
I will miss Aunt Lydia - selfishly, I will miss being loved by her. I will miss that I can't see or talk to her anymore on this earth. She is in a better place, but we are the poorer for it! Each deposit in heaven reminds me yet again that this world is not my home - I travel as a sojourner - a stranger on earth. Every goodbye to loved ones forces our attention heavenward - and calls us to live with that in view.
Here is a song-link for the hymn 'Satisfied'. I believe it describes Aunt Lydia's hunger and love for Jesus: