Sunday, June 2, 2013

She Pretty Much Got It Right: Myrtle See 1932-2013

Myrtle See on her 80th birthday
Alma Jean and I attended a moving funeral service just over a week ago of an 80-year-old friend and former neighbor, Myrtle See. Also attending were well over 150 others of her many friends and family members and five (yes, five) pastors who spoke in the service, a tribute to how much Myrtle and her late husband Dow were appreciated by everyone who knew them.

What made Myrtle so unforgettable was not your usual attention-getting list of achievements, but simply the way she loved everybody. Person after person in the service (including pastor after pastor) expressed appreciation for the repeated "I-love-you's" and warm hugs that were Myrtle's signature gifts to everyone she met, along with her invitations to enjoy whatever good food and drink she frequently had prepared in her tiny kitchen.

Of all the homes along Daphna Road just south of Zion Mennonite Church (and the parsonage where we lived from 1969-1988), Dow and Myrtle's at the very end of the dead end road was one of the most modest and unpretentious of them all. A tall person might have to stoop to get through the doorway into the kitchen, and I'm guessing even the living room had no more than a seven-foot ceiling. But Myrtle never made any apologies for her small house. She kept the place looking comfortable and clean, and it was always warm in so many more ways than one. Her priorities were the people she loved, not the property she and Dow owned.

At the the nearby Pine Grove Church of the Brethren, the small country church she faithfully attended most of her life, she often served as song leader. Not that she was a trained musician, she just volunteered to do it because she loved to sing, always with a warm glow that reflected her love of anything that had to do with God. By just standing in front with her hymnal and a radiant face Myrtle could light up the church.
Drawing by artist grandson Luis See

The more I've thought about her simple and servant-like spirit, the more I think she may have gotten life just about right. After all, when all is said and done, isn't it all about loving God with your all your heart, then loving everyone you meet like they were the most special people ever?

"The world would be a far, far better place," one of the preachers said, "if everyone could be more like Myrtle."

We can all say a hearty Amen to that.
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