Andrew and I went to visit my Aunt Sis this week. She is 92 years old. She still has an impish grin and twinkle in her eye, though her health and mental faculties have declined a bit. She calls me “darlin’” though she doesn’t remember exactly who I am. That doesn’t matter, because I definitely remember who she is. My Aunt Sis is an incredible human being.
A human exclamation point
My cousin Sam, her youngest son, fondly calls her a “human exclamation point.“ In her healthier days, she was full of vigor, a true southern lady. She was one of those folks who never met a stranger. She always remembered everyone’s name, and what was going on in their life and their family, and even how they like their iced tea: sweet or unsweet. She could make any awkward newcomer feel like a part of things within five minutes of entering her house. In fact when she greeted anyone at the door, friend or stranger, she would throw open her arms and say “come on in this house!”
Aunt Sis was a gracious hostess.
Aunt Sis was a gracious hostess. She welcomed stray family members like me: many a weekend in college I came “home” to her house, “my” bedroom all ready for me (my folks lived too far away for weekend visits). One year I even spent the whole summer there when my job kept me in Georgia. Several foreign exchange students also enjoyed Aunt Sis and Uncle Jake’s hospitality over the years. Those students didn’t realize until later that part of that hospitality included a lifetime “adoption” into the Hodges clan.
Aunt Sis was the ultimate entertainer. When our family visited in the summers, she would stock the freezer with ice cream treats and the walk-in with cases of bottled cokes. And boy could she throw a party. It might be a paper plate barbecue down at the carriage house, or Christmas dinner for the extended family complete with linens, silver and china. She was every bit as comfortable hosting a coffee for the Sunday school ladies as she was serving a steak dinner to the Georgia Tech basketball team.
It’s about people
It was never about “show” with Aunt Sis. It was always about people. People weren’t merely a part of Aunt Sis’s life. People were – and are – her life. The highest compliment Aunt Sis could say about someone was to say that they were “good people.” Many times after she introduced someone to me, she would put her hand on their arm, turn to me, look me straight in the eye and say
“Now Lydia, Darlin’, these folks are ‘good people.’”
I would nod and smile. She didn’t elaborate. She didn’t have to. I knew exactly what she meant.
“Good people” were Godly people. “Good people” were honest, kind and gracious. They were people of integrity, generous, and compassionate. They cared deeply about others, and did a lot for others no one ever knew about. In short, “good people” were like Aunt Sis.
God is good people.
God is good. God is “good people.” He has a good heart. He is honest and integritable, welcoming and warm. He has common sense and practical advice, and a strong sense of right and wrong. He is generous and wise and loving. He does what’s right, even if he is misunderstood for it. God cares deeply about others–more than people realize—and is always working in this world to take care of those He loves.
What’s great about good people
You know what’s great about “good people”? The more you’re around them the more they rub off on you. Aunt Sis may be nearing the end of her life on this earth, but she hasn’t quit rubbing off on me. Her habits– “good people” skills – echo through my life, encouraging me to
- Give joyfully
- Entertain graciously
- Brag about others enthusiastically
- Hug wholeheartedly
And of course, lovingly bestow terms of endearment –“precious” “dear one” “sweetie” “ baby doll” and her favorite (and mine)– “darlin’”
The fruit of the Spirit call goodness is really just God’s goodness in us.
The fruit of the Spirit call goodness is really just God’s goodness in us. It’s there. We just choose whether we’re going to let it out or not.
In her life, Aunt Sis chose to let God’s goodness to shine through her, loving people in her own special way. In so doing, she unknowingly encouraged the rest of us to love others a little more, and love them a little better.
Aunt Sis is “good people”. No matter where she is– on earth or in heaven–she will always encourage me to be “good people” too.
Oh, by the way, darlin’, how do you like your tea–sweet or unsweet?
We would love to hear from you! How DO you like your tea?