Life as a Thank you 31
Today is National Aunts & Uncles Day. In honor of the people I call my aunts and uncles, I thought I would send a big shout out and thank you! This week is a bit different than a single thank you note as I share my gratitude for Aunt Janie, Aunt Kitty, Aunt Crystal, Aunt Patricia and Uncle Buddy. I am further grateful for the spouses and the “great” aunts and uncles and the people I called aunts and uncles, who really had no biological ties to my family but carried the responibility so well that they were given the title. I am who I am because of the prayers and the input these people have had on my life. I remember special conversations and gifts. I remember challenges and fun adventures. I have watched some walk through tough times and relationships with grace and dignity. I want to be like you and try new things and love well and leave a legacy like you have left or are leaving for me. I am so grateful that you are “mine”.
I have nieces and nephews and I was thinking about what the significance in the Bible might be. While the Bible does not have a direct guideline for this role, we can see some examples of how God intends those relationships to work. First there is Abraham and Lot. Lot is described as just and righteous and we know his greatest mentor growing up was growing up following his uncle Abe. Abraham yielded to Lot in choosing land, he pleaded with God on Lot’s behalf when Lot moved his family to Sodom. Miriam is another example of an aunt who set the bar high. We do not know if she was married with children of her own but we do know that this prophetess, poet, and leader was there as a strong and principled example to help her nephews and the Israelite people in tough times just as she had when she watched her brother, Moses.
I have not had the privilege of living near my aunts and uncles with the exception of my Aunt Janie. That was a special time for both of us and I treasure the memories we made and the relationship we enjoyed. I remember when I first became an aunt. My sister gave birth to my sweet niece Vanessa and I was overwhelmed with love and pride that these people are “mine” and that I can carry on the legacy of faith as I encourage and support my siblings in their sacred role as parents.
So what do I do (or what have I done) for those who call me Aunt? What do I think I should do?
- I pray for them. regularly.
- I try to listen to them, paying attention to the things that are important to them, learning who they are, responding truthfully and taking the initiative in building a healthy relationship.
- I have tried to be supportive by attending their events, sending them notes as well as thoughtful gifts, asking them for their opinions and for their help when I have needed it.
- I tell them I love them and try to show them through my actions.
- (Even though I know that I fail at this one the most) I try to model a life of integrity and demonstrate faithful living of one devoted to God.
I hope that I have instilled a love for the extended families for my own kids and it is evident that they do value the relationships they have with their cousins and aunts and uncles. I cherish my nieces and nephews; I love being an aunt. It is a favorite title and it is a blessing that I love and hold carefully with the weight of responsibility.