Lord – Last Friday my family celebrated the life of Carolyn Swartwout Tynan. She was the last of four remarkable siblings. She was my Mother’s sister.
Often Aunt Carolyn spoke about the time she spent in the Rio Grande Valley at her Uncle Bob’s house and in his large citrus orchard next to the Colorado Arroyo.
To her, at age five, sailing on the Colorado Arroyo with her older brother, Les, at the helm and with her sisters, Lucile and Margaret on board was magical. A prelude and in contrast to what the future held in store for her. For a few months, time was timeless. Her hopes unbounded. Happiness was surely to be discovered just around the next river bend of life.
A short time later on September 2 the Cuba-Brownsville Hurricane of 1933 took an unexpected turn to the west and stuck the orchard with 140 mile per hour winds causing devastation and loss of life in the Valley.
Aunt Carolyn soon faced many unexpected turns in her life too. Her mother dying in 1942 when Carolyn was just 14 years old. A dad absent and ill with TB. The Great Depression. A failed marriage. The death of her devoted second husband, Allen Brown, due to leukemia. The untimely death of her third husband, Bob Tynan, due to a weakened heart and a stepson, Steve, from a seizure.
Aunt Carolyn faced all these unexpected turns with dignity, grace, and faith in You, Lord.
As I looked at the urn which held her ashes on the table in front of Your altar, I did not see the dear aged and ill Aunt who recently received Last Rites from Father David Price. Rather, I saw Your child with her siblings pictured here in Easter white in front of their Uncle Bob’s orchard long ago.
God, I know that on Palm Sunday those who witnessed the celebration of Your Son riding in the streets of Jerusalem did not foresee or expect what would follow on Calvary.
Lord, please help all of us to be prepared for the unexpected turns in our own lives. To have unfailing faith in You as my Aunt Carolyn did. That when all that’s left of us are our ashes that our spirits find their way back to You.
I know Aunt Carolyn’s spirit has sailed into Your arms. She has surely discovered the treasure which all Your faithful people find at the end of their earthy lives–Your Eternal love and the Light of Your Son, our Savior, the Risen Christ. Amen
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Jack H. Emmott is a Senior Counsel of Gray, Reed & McGraw, LLP, a 120-lawyer full service firm in Houston, Texas, a Board-Certified Family Law and Master Credentialed Collaborative Law Professional Divorce Attorney, Mediator, Author, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker. For more information about Jack or his latest book, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love, go to the Bending Angel website.