Thursday, December 24, 2009


Yesterday my Great Aunt, Jean Pratt went to be with her Lord. She was 92 years old and I loved her. She was really kind of my grandma, because she’s the lady who raised my mom from a young age on up. See, Mom’s parents had both died by the time she was 10 years old and she was taken in by Uncle Sam and Aunt Jean. Aunt Jean was always the cutest and spunkiest person in the room and she had a great laugh. She was the best cook anyone had ever known and always told the greatest stories about the old days in Nashville when Uncle Sam owned his barber shop…

I am flooded with old memories of Aunt Jean, like the time all the cousins were playing hide and seek in the house and Jodie and I hid in the bathtub behind the shower curtain; but before we were found, Aunt Jean came in to use the bathroom… or the many times we sang old country songs and hymns and Aunt Jean patted her leg and sang along with us. I’ll never forget the smell and taste of her chicken and dumplings or the time she fried a whole chicken and I literally sat at the table and ate until it was completely gone. I’ve spent my whole life keeping snug and warm under her handmade afghans and quilts… once she even made one for our dog…

Every night Christy and I still tuck in under a quilt that Aunt Jean made. It’s my favorite quilt in the whole world and quite as old as I am. It’s huge, soft, warm and mainly red, though many other and variously colored fabrics make up the design. A few weeks ago Christy and I were looking really closely at that quilt and talking about how crazy some of those 1970’s fabrics are. The colors clash like mad and some of the patterns are downright hideous. When you really zoom in on the quilt and focus on the cloth that makes it up, you see just how weird it really is. Then you start to see stains, tears, worn out edges and frayed seams. In fact, up close, the quilt is such a seeming disaster of colorblindness and disrepair that anyone might wonder why it hasn’t been stored away…

Something magical happens though, when you zoom out. When you just look at the whole quilt for what it is, (not looking too long at the way pink-ish patterns clash with orange) it becomes something beautiful. Sure it’s frayed and worn and covered in awful remnants of the 1970’s, but as a quilt, it’s perfect. In Romans 8, Paul said this: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.” God uses everything in our lives, the sweet stuff, the soft and warm stuff and the broken, awful stuff and he sews it all together for our best. He looks at the whole life as a bigger picture, like the way Aunt Jean sewed all those crazy cloths together to make the perfect quilt. Just like the way God sewed all the happy moments and all the hard moments together in Aunt Jean’s life for her best. Now she’s home with Jesus for her best Christmas ever and she gets to see the finished product of all He did in her life. One day I’ll see her again, and when I do, I’ll see my life, not as a series of things broken or sweet, but as it is, the whole of God’s perfect working.

Merry Christmas Aunt Jean. Can’t wait to see you again!

Aunt Jean with Uncle Sam:

Aunt Jean back in her nursing days with some patients:

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