Wednesday, June 9, 2010

from Mark Aspinwall

I thought that we were Grandma Melicent’s extra-special, most-favorite friends. She sure made us feel that way whenever we saw her! But, from reading the stories on the website, it turns out that we were just one among many. What a marvelous woman. God gave Melicent a special gift of genuine love, enthusiasm and plain old joy of living. It made me happy just to be around her. We’ve been friends of Lona, Hartley & Trevor, since 1981. (The first time we met the Browns, I showed up at Bible study in my board shorts and flip-flops. Trevor assumed I was a homeless guy, and went out of his way to be kind). Well, when you know Lona & Hartley, you soon know Melicent.

In the ‘90s, we moved away from the LA area, so we’ve pretty much missed the last 10+ years. But, we still remember our many visits to Lona and Hartley’s Venice Beach house; being hugged and fussed over by Melicent; eating mass quantities of something yummy and drinking out of old peanut butter jars. You know what I most appreciated about Melicent? Her life and thoughts and attitudes were formed and filled by God’s Spirit. She treasured people. Whenever we got together, she was genuinely and deeply interested in me; my joys, my problems, my interests. She would ask about my job, my wife, my kids, my parents, my problems. With her, everything was an adventure. She saw the fun and joy in life, rather than the drudgery and difficulty.

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Nobody else is like Melicent. I used to think that Christians like Wonder Bread – soft, bland, boring and all the same. As it turns out, the opposite it true. The more closely you follow Christ, the more you become yourself – intensely individual & idiosyncratic. I think God gets a kick out of the sheer variety of His people. He surely gets a kick out of Melicent. She went about His business – loving people – in her own inimitable way.

It’s a bitter-sweet thing when someone like Melicent dies: bitter, because we’ll miss her; sweet, because her struggle’s is over, and she’s with Jesus – her real extra-special, most-favorite friend. See you later, Grandma! Love you!

Mark, for all the Aspinwall clan.

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