This piece is in loving memory of my beloved aunt. A mentor, prayer warrior, example of cherishing family, and living for Jesus. I miss her prayers on my behalf already, but rejoice in the fact that she no longer in pain and reunited with many whom she has had to bid farewell.
As autumn tentatively bids the world a hello, I join its apprehension of beginning a new season. Some seasons are like that in this life – bringing about a change we don’t want to welcome, while others bound in joyfully with a breath of fresh air.
This season is one that brings with it the loss of one of my spiritual giants, my Aunt Katy. My heart grows tender, full of sweet memories as I come to peace with starting a new season that says I must accept the passing of what was: the comforts of times past with familiar laughter and prayers on my behalf make my heart hurt for the loss of those blessings.
As I grieve losing one that I love, I am humbled by the way God speaks hope into the whirlwind of emotions through what has turned into a beautiful symbol of what my aunt has meant to me throughout her life. My hydrangea bush is one of my favorite features in our front yard. I love the blooms of hydrangeas and the way their blossoms reflect the type of soil in which they are planted.
This summer was drought-ridden, and I found some comfort in the fact that the plant thrived in spite of the intense circumstances it was surviving: its greenness boasting happily against the brown grass around it. There was, however, one point of wonder that puzzled me each time I admired its tenacity in those dry, hot months. Not one single time did its flowers bloom.
Even so, the plant encouraged me with its diligence to dig deep into its roots and grow. Times were tough, yet the hydrangea persevered. Much like my aunt who endured so many difficulties throughout her life. She had many opportunities to make excuses and not thrive, but she didn’t because she knew where her identity and purpose were rooted.
Things have been a bit different this season with my hydrangea bush. While the bush was still a picture of strength all summer, it didn’t provide the familiar beauty that it has in years past. As this new season of things falling away begins, and even as the bush’s leaves are beginning to fade because their time of shining brightly is coming to an end, something uniquely powerful and beautiful has happened: one small, yet mighty cluster of flowers has blossomed, greeting me with a joy that springs from the hope of God’s presence in the midst of sorrow.
It is inevitable for our spiritual giants to fade and bid this earth goodbye in their proper season, and that is a painful reality to accept. However, I find an incredible amount of hope and inspiration as I remember that Aunt Katy knew until her last breath on earth that her greatness only came because she understood where her identity truly dwelt. That is why she always shined, much like the gift of the hydrangea blossom that is still flourishing so that I will remember where my hope and identity must reside as well.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
~2 Timothy 4:1-2, 5-8