This picture cracks me up. Judah is obviously so done with the picture taking party. The look on Nanny’s face says she is too. But Mom and I remain determined to get just one more before we end the photo shoot.
These days it’s one of my favorites. Nanny went to be with Jesus on Monday, quietly and gently. Like the Lord came softly into her room, said it was time to go, took her by the hand and she was gone before anyone realized it. In Heaven her Lord welcomed her to Rest. Then, at the front of the line were her husband and her daughter Bronwyn. And after them, so many others. People she had missed for many years and was anxious to see again. I love to think of her meeting our twins and her granddaughter, Samantha, who died years ago. Can there be anything so joyous as the reunions that take place in Heaven?
As news of her death has spread, my dad has received emails from friends around the world, expressing condolences, recounting memory after memory and bearing witness to the wonderful legacy Nanny is leaving behind for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. And nearly every email and story centers around her hospitality and the openness of the home she and Papa kept for years and years. They hosted countless numbers of missionaries, pastors, college and seminary students, friends, strangers, the poor, the rich. Their home was a rotating bed and breakfast (and lunch and dinner) for so many years, living right on the seminary campus and welcoming anyone and everyone for a meal, a place to stay, a home for the holidays.
Papa had the vision for that way of life, but Nanny was the one that made it possible. She was at home all the time. Her life was cooking, cleaning, changing sheets, doing laundry and, of course, raising four children. She was the hub of their home, the warmth of it, the energy for it. Without her it wouldn’t have worked. And people from all over the world benefited and are now bearing witness to the powerful influence her hospitality had in their lives.
I wonder how many of her guests knew that she ironed her sheets every single time before making the bed again. (Did you get that? Ironed the sheets!) Or that her beautiful furniture was gathered meticulously from their travels, every piece carefully selected. Or that her spread at the table and her wonderful meals came from a strict code of ethics regarding manners, table etiquette and meal hospitality. (No label on the table!)
I loved nearly every meal that she made (nearly). But my favorite was lunch. She was not a PB&J kind of girl. Her lunch spread (just for herself!) would include toast, a delicious wedge of cheese, a side of pickles and olives, some salad dish and of course, a cup of tea. Sharing these lunches made me feel like a queen. Still today when I make myself a plate for lunch I find myself putting a little extra effort into it, thinking of Nanny. “It’s just what you do, honey!”
She practiced her hospitality as an art and a science and she devoted her entire life to it. Her whole ministry was her home and that ministry stretched across the country, to Europe, India, Australia and China. This legacy is more precious to me than words and will remain in my heart the perfect example of what good can be accomplished by a lowly housewife. I add my voice to all those who are rising up and calling her blessed.