Updated: Jan 23
My Auntie Rachel recently celebrated her 75th birthday.
I didn't really think much of it until my sister called me to say I should wish her a happy birthday. So I did. It turns out that she hadn't known that day was her birthday, and was pleasantly surprised when friends surprised her with a treat and those dear to her gave her well wishes. On the phone she told me that "Now I am closer to God than I am to the people down here," and we both burst out laughing. I love it when people don't lose their humour and see the goodness and the bright side in all situations. And that's what my Auntie Rachel is like. Ever a smile on her face, always a kind word or a prayer said. Always talking to you with genuine interest in whatever is happening in your life, even if she doesn't get it at all.
I always thought Auntie Rachel was quiet and just another passive relative, but little do I know how special she actually is to my family. She's the one relative my dad can actually stand and looks glad to see each time. He told me once that she's the only Christian he's met who he admires. For my dad to say that is a big deal, believe me. She's at every family function and I know she's been a big support to my parents over the years. She has a score of achievements as well with Kenyan churches, Kenyan schools and universities, agricultural and health divisions. I think she's one of those people who has spent a lot of her life actively changing Kenya in any way she has been able to, to help whatever cause she can.
The main reason I wanted to write this post is because I realized that my auntie is very content. And she's single! Honestly, I've always thought she got married sometime when she was young then had one of those hush hush separations no one ever talks about. But, she has never married in all her 75 years of living. And I'm not mentioning this to single shame her, but in the African context it's unorthodox, especially to be single and joyful! I guess what I'm saying is that her singleness has never "lessened" her. I think it's because she's always been part of our family and just gels in. Even though she's technically my dad's cousin, she seems and feels more close than that. I think also she has filled her life with many interests and missions to keep her mind focused on using her talents and skills to advance people's wellbeing and the country's well being. But most importantly, I think her contentment comes from her commitment to Christ. (God is enough!)
My parents put on a little lunch for her the other day and in ordinary Kenyan fashion, no celebration is complete without a speech. She said two things:
1) She thanks God and
2) She hopes to meet her Lord.
And that was it. I was very touched and inspired, because I don't think I've ever believed a single person express their contentment and satisfaction up until that moment. She didn't say anything about her achievements, about any person, about herself. She just mentioned God. And that really challenged me.
There's a song by CityAlight called "Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me," and the it ends with the lyrics: "When the race is complete, still my lips shall repeat, 'Yet not I, but through Christ in me!'"
I can't help but think Auntie would be able to say those words with assurance. Wonder if I could to.
Even if I live the most successful and fulfilling life by worldly standards, even if I have it all, so to speak, will I acknowledge God as my only desire and reason for wanting to live? Will I want to be with God above all else?
Food for thought.