The Best Kind of Pride
I know that there is nothing better for them [mankind] than to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is a gift from God.
Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13
My aunt, my mother’s only sibling, was a remarkable woman. My mother was beautiful, but my aunt was smart and stylish. My mother married young and it looked as if my aunt would be a career woman when, in her mid-thirties, she met her future husband. After two years of marriage, they bought a little house. Soon after, opened their own real estate office. Because my uncle was a natural salesman and my aunt was a genius manager, their business was a success.
In his early fifties, my uncle suffered a sudden and devastating stroke that affected his speech and paralyzed his left side. For a period of time afterwards, he was withdrawn, depressed and, I am sure, frightened of what the future would hold. But my aunt never stopped fighting.
The story goes that one day as he lashed out at her in his frustration, she looked him in the eye and said, “If you talk to me that way again, I am walking out that door and you will be on your own. And you need me a lot more than I need you.” They re-built their business into an appraisal service and kept their office open for another twenty years.
They had no children, but their life was rich with friends, neighbors, family and fellow congregants at the little church where they were members their entire marriage. My uncle passed away in his late seventies; my aunt died at 92, living, until her last days, in the little home they had purchased as newlyweds.
My aunt, probably more than anyone I have known, exemplified pride in the very best sense of the word. She knew who she was and never envied anyone else. She never complained; her priority was to make the best life she could with what God gave her--through ups and down, joys and challenges. She loved her husband, her home and the upper Mid-West town where she lived her entire life.
Today we tell young people to “dream big dreams,” and “go for the gold” because “anything is possible.” That is fine. But when I think of my aunt, I have to believe that a life like hers, though unremarkable in the eyes of the world, is, in the eyes of God, a beautiful thing.