She lived across a field from me and I often dropped in to say “hello.” When the windows were open in the summer, I would usually hear the determined peck of the keys of a manual typewriter as I approached the front door. She spent most of her days writing letters to family and friends and working on a memoir to record God’s faithfulness to her and her family.
Aunt Mary, as her neighbors called her, had led an active life, as missionary to Bolivia, pastor’s wife and mother of six children. Now, though, with children grown and living hours away, and the unexpected death of her husband, she had only the ministry of a Sunday school class and her typewriter.
When I stopped to visit, I tried to keep my two-year-old from picking up all her breakable keepsakes and asked for advice about being a good mother and finding the right balance of discipline. And, she confided in me that since she didn’t even drive, she felt useless, unable to do much good for people anymore. I assured her that her usefulness had not ended. She was an encouragement to me and her letters encouraged others.
I wish I could have properly explained to her what she meant to me, at that time in my life, but all I could say was, “You are a blessing to many people.”
Aunt Mary didn’t realize that sometimes I just stopped by to get a dose of hope. To me, she was a lighthouse. Although she had faced salt-scarring storm tides and gale force tempests, and her outward body had started to chip and fade, the bright Christ-life within beamed brightly.
The presence of God that emanated from Aunt Mary was as a beacon that reminded me of God’s faithfulness in life’s storms and the importance of maintaining the Christ-life. Aunt Mary was more than a blessing, she was a Lighthouse to me.
A Tribute to Mary Barnard Enyart 1905-1992.