I always loved stories of overcomers when I was growing up. I read story upon story about survivors and overcomers. In real life I had the pleasure to observe a real-life overcomer in my Aunt Cathy. There was nothing quite as powerful as watching an honest-to-goodness gentle gladiator in the presence of my aunt. She was born with cerebral palsy in 1944, but when I was a child she seemed to live as normal of a life as you and me. She married Ron in 1975 and raised three children. Her husband had cerebral palsy as well. I’m sure she struggled—but what my child-like awe and wonder who I saw was a woman living her best life.
Aunt Cathy passed away this week. We lived continents away at times and at others on opposite ends of America, so we didn’t get to spend a lot of time together, but when our families were together my Aunt Cathy fed my love for overcomers.
I read today, “Be the things you loved most about the people who are gone.” Wise words—my mom’s family has suffered many losses and I hope to be the things—the characteristics—that I loved and admired of each of them.
From my mom I strive to be purposefully kind to strangers like she was, live boldly, and never compromise the parts of her that are woven deeply into me. Like my Uncle Tom (her brother) I hope to live with an adventurous spirit. I desire to have the generous and gifted spirit my Aunt Mary (her sister) quilted and loved into the lives around her. I never met my grandmother (her mother), but my mother spoke fondly of her all the days of her life and I aspire to live with a pure servant’s heart my mother spoke of. And of my grandfather (her father) I hope to live with his playful spirit. Like my cousin Colleen (her niece) I hope that memories of me will be intertwined into the histories of people that I have the pleasure of sharing life with. From my Aunt Cathy I learned what overcoming looks like—may I live overcoming with even an ounce that she did.
These people inspire me to live on purpose.