Unlike Elinor, her shy, fair-haired, twin, our raven-haired cousin, Eloise, with her lively brown eyes, was no shrinking violet. When we were preschool age, she was already a teenager. Once, when we stopped at her family’s home, she was dressed in her band uniform, on her way out the door. Such disappointment for us, since she usually dropped whatever she was doing to dote on us when we paid a call! Eloise was the most exciting and glamorous of role models. She made life look like one big adventure, waiting for us to grow up, to enjoy.
I loved Eloise as one of my childhood’s three most favorite family members, alongside my grandmother and my Uncle Dean. She was the one who loved to spend time with us, to make the hours fun. At the lake, where her dad built summer cabins, she was the one who took us out in the boat. It was Eloise who taught us how to blow bubbles, and she didn’t buy just one package of bubble gum for all to share, she bought each of us our very own bubble-gum roll! That was a first, since being part of a big family we learned early to “share” everything, even a stick of gum! But, unlike our mother’s teaching in frugality, Eloise’s generous heart overflowed in extravagance. And, we relished her presence.
While she might have made a wonderful “Mary Poppins” sort of governess or nanny, Eloise
became, instead, a physical-ed teacher. My mom told me that the man she loved married
someone else. Incomprehensible! How could he have chosen anyone over Eloise! While
I was in nurses’ training, Eloise died suddenly, at the age of 33, of a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. I didn’t make it to her funeral, but I heard that there was another man who loved her that wept openly at her graveside. Her loss, at such an early time in my own life, was a shock, like a door slammed shut before we were ready to say goodbye.
Sorrow, that dreaded emotion, feels like somebody just pulled the plug on life. We watch, helpless, as all our dreams and hopes swirl down the drain, irretrievable. All that’s left is tears, and memories, and regrets at what might have been. And, like the flu, we never know when it will strike us, next.
But, even in sorrow, how good God is to us! He gives us tears. Like baptism into the blood of Jesus washing sin from our souls, tears wash the wounds left in our hearts by the ravages of sin and death. And so, God begins to mend our broken hearts and bring healing. In addition, He gives us those precious memories to hang onto, guarded in the files of our mind. Like treasured jewels, we can retrieve them from safekeeping, hold them up to the light and enjoy their sparkling reflections once again. But, that’s not all.
Sorrow teaches us to live, today, as if we have no tomorrows. Investing each day, that
way, means we can minimize our regrets at what might have been. We cannot turn back
time and we have no guarantees about the future. We only have today to let God turn into His masterpiece!
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. ---1 Thessalonians 5:6-11
(C) copyright 2005 by---Edy T. Johnson---
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