Thursday, August 28, 2014

Awana's Homegoing

My wife lost her last living sibling just this evening when Awana went to her celestial home, where she joins baby brother “Moe”, a pastor- evangelist, her saintly mother, and others of her 2nd generation Oklahoma Church of God family. She was one of nine siblings: one deceased, 4 brothers and 3 sisters, my wife being the youngest of the girls. My wife and Awana (Jammie) were remembered by some as the sisters of Hiram Stiles (the elder sibling) and the “Stiles Twins.”

When Jam’s next older brother went to war and became a Southeast Pacific Air Ace, she became a pilot too. But for her to fly, she had to join the Ferrying Command. Later she went to cryptographer school and became a government code breaker and whatever they do. Although this beautiful partially first-American girl was offered a Warner Brothers Modeling contract, she stayed in government service. When she was courted by the heir to the South American version of Warner Brothers, she passed that by and finally married a Seattle widower she met at her employment.

Ralph was a graduate of Beijing University. He excelled in the State Department as a Chinese/Far East Expert--Foreign Service Officer in Charge of several different posts around the world from Stockholm to Formosa. He was in China when it fell, receiving advance warning. Taking his sons, one under each arm, he ran the seven miles to the nearest port to escape the country, leaving his dying wife in the care of the household caretakers by prearrangement that insured their escape.

Awana mothered Ralph’s two sons and together they raised their combined family. She joined Ralph in the Geneva Conferences and supported his lengthy career in government and later as a Political Science teacher and author in residence at Harvard.

I knew this gracious lady nearly seventy years. Most amazing to me was the way they each loved each other. Being married to a poor preacher, my wife often did without things ladies love to enjoy but Awana loved pouring out her love onto her younger sister--like anointing oil. Generous to a fault; she gave to the point of extravagance, but they deeply loved each other.

Now in fragile health, my wife is unable to attend the Memorial service, but she is happy. She celebrates that she was able to spiritually re-direct Awana at a crucial time in their lives, and that Awana has now gone to her celestial reward without further suffering from the malignancy threatening her body. This is a family of siblings that anticipated meeting around God’s Great Throne for an eternal reunion with their mother, that will only be completed at such time as my wife joins that celestial circle.

There is so much about death that we do not know, but I like this poetic verse from our longtime Tulsa friend; it speaks of the Bible. Written by retired pastor Byrum C. Lee, 12-20-13; I think 94 at the time - it speaks of “No Last Chapter”:
  Some people, when reading a book
   Go to the last chapter and take a look.
   They want to see how it all ends,
   But to me, that sort of offends

The historian recalls, for us, the past—
Giving us a view of things tht last.
Reading it, may help our perspective,
As for the future we seek some directive.

But we’re more concerned about today—
"What, for me, does it have to say?”
The first chapter is now in the past,
And today’s more relevant than what’s last.

In the Bible, Genesis tells of the beginnings,
And the Revelation reveals to us its endings.
So it’s alright if you want to read ahead
To learn what John, the Revelator, said.

 Is there a message that, to me, it’s sending?
 To God, there is no beginning or ending;
 There is no middle, and no last chapter,
 For He knows what’s coming thereafter.

 And altho’ our life on this earth will end,
 The Bible, a message of hope, to us sends.
 There is life for us, in another world,
 And one day we’ll see it being unfurled.

From Warner’s World, I am

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