Last night and today have been celebrations. Family and friends have come together to celebrate the life of a precious woman. Of all the people I've ever known, Estella Hale is, or was, the most gentle and kindest. I never heard her say a negative word about anyone. There's a person in the family that everyone says bad things about. I said to Estella, "You've never said anything bad about her." She looked surprised and answered, "Why would I?"
That's the kind of person she was. She loved unconditionally. She loved my brother that way. Her way of telling him in a crowd that he'd said enough was a gentle tap on his shoulder. Otherwise, she would just roll her eyes.
I've heard it said that the good die young. Is that because they've grown in the Lord as much as they need to? If that's true, then those of us over 65 must still have much to learn.
The sky has been cloudy and the wind cold. The day Estella died snow covered the ground. It was beautiful-like God purifying the earth. Today tears have fallen from the sky in the form of rain. Those were our tears of sadness and loss but they were tears of gladness from the Father because He had another of His beloved children with Him.
I don't fully understand death even though the Bible tells us over and over that we must die and tht Jesus has overcome death for us. All I know is that Estella will be missed by her 9 brothers and sisters, her 13 grandchildren, her 4 children and her husband. She will be missed by in- laws and friends. From this experience I have learned that what we take with us and what we leave behind are both the same: what is in our hearts. That is all that really matters. Estella left her clothing, her momentos, hher collections, her Bible, her shoes, her jewelry--all those things we gather to us while we are alive. She took the love for Jesus and her family and the goodness of her heart and presented them to the Lord.
What will I present to Him? Maybe that's why I'm still here. My gift isn't quite ready yet. I pray He will make me more ready so when I leave this earth I have something precious to offer Him.
A few days ago, as I thought along these lines, I asked God if He is ever going to finish His work in me. It doesn't seem like I'm going to get where I want to go. I haven't heard an answer yet so I'll just keep pushing ahead.
One of my daughters wrote a text message saying, "I can see Grandma welcoming Estella into Heaven." I don't know what it will be like, but I know this: Estella wasn't afraid. She was ready. When will I be ready? Not yet, but when the time comes, I hope I have finished my course, just as Paul said. Right now, all I can say is "Good bye, Estella. I miss you."