In memoriam: Edith Whitney, 102 years of life and faith

Posted by on August 21, 2008
Edith Whitney at 102

Edith Whitney at 102

My grandmother died almost two weeks ago now at 102, and I now have the bittersweet task of officiating at her memorial service.  My grandmother didn’t have an easy life.  As a polio survivor, her reaction time was slow and her sense of balance was unreliable.  She lived with a lot of pain at various points in her life.  But her faith kept her going.

Sometimes as a pastor, I find myself trying to package the good news of the gospel in ways that people can hear it.  So many words we use have been co-opted or redefined in ways that turn them into bad news.  But the truth can be so very simple.  My grandmother made it simple.  In a journal my sister gave her there was a place to fill in “something I would like you to know about me.”  Here’s what she led with:

I found Jesus.  Without Him, life would have no meaning.  Someday He will come for me and I will go to my real home.  Don’t grieve for me, but rejoice for I will now be happy. No more pain, tears nor handicaps.

It was so simple for her.  She never doubted that she would step out of this life and into the waiting arms of the Lord when her day came.  Now it has come.  We will shed our tears because there is a hole now in the place she held in our lives.  But she is now free.  Her pain is gone.  Her tears have been wiped away.  I can be happy for her and miss her terribly at the same time.

Please pray for me as I lead the memorial service this Saturday.  It is an honor but also a difficult task.

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