An Average Life Well Lived

mom and marilyn

It must have been Christmas 1984 when this photo was taken. A memory from long ago. Feel free to laugh and mock the clothing, but especially the couch! Holy Cow! What were we thinking?

The lady in the middle is my Aunt Marilyn. Well, she is not my aunt by marriage or blood. She was a good friend of the family. My mother and Marilyn graduated together and she just became a part of our life. She was there in my earliest of memories.

This week I discovered that my aunt passed away of a heart attack. Aunt Marilyn had moved to Arizona many years ago, but we still kept in touch. We exchanged Christmas cards and I talked to her on the phone maybe once a year. But her passing brought up so many old memories.

My sister and I would visit her apartment with my mom. Aunt Marilyn had a multitude of music boxes. I don’t know how many she actually had but as a child, it seemed like hundreds. She had music boxes that had moving parts, some that would spin, and some that stood still. She had one music box that played the song, “Singing in the Rain” or maybe it was “New York, New York”. My sister and I would take them off the bookshelves and wind them all up at the same time. I look back and think how maddening that must have been to listen to all those boxes playing different songs at the same time. But then she would have us dust her bookshelves. Hmm, it must have been her method to our madness.

Aunt Marilyn had a lot of music boxes. And she had the biggest cats I have ever seen! Her cat, Max, must have been 20 lbs. Not kidding! I’m sure I have a photo somewhere. And she sold Avon on the side. Avon was the first “side hustle” gig for women. Make-up, perfume, costume jewelry, etc. We loved when she would bring the new catalogs around. My sister and I would mark up the book circling all the lip balm and kids’ stuff.

After Aunt Marilyn moved to Arizona, she found God in a deeper way. She was involved in her church. She attended Bible study and she was faithful to participate in Angel Tree every year. Since Aunt Marilyn didn’t have any children, she “adopted” many kids at Christmas. All of her nieces and nephews, my children, and several underprivileged children received gifts each year. Once her nieces, nephews, and my children were grown she stopped buying gifts for them. And she increased her giving to the less fortunate.

Now that I am looking back on my childhood, I realize that Aunt Marilyn wasn’t the “cool” aunt. She wasn’t the “un-cool” aunt. She was there in our lives living it with us and making generic memories. But they were good memories. And her passing leaves a hole.

Sometimes I think I’m a little like Aunt Marilyn. I’m not the cool aunt. Hopefully not the un-cool aunt either. But I’m there…making memories. Aunt Marilyn reminds me that even the average person who lives the average life matters. And we don’t have to be amazing to matter either. She mattered to the time and season she was here on the earth. She mattered to the people in her life. She mattered enough for Jesus to sacrifice His life for her. And she mattered enough for God to draw her unto Him.

Here’s to my aunt. An average person who lived an average life, but still left an imprint on the world for all eternity. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and grant you peace.

See you on the other side of glory, Aunt Marilyn.

[Recommended Reading]

A Life Well Lived – Swindoll 

6 Comments on “An Average Life Well Lived”

  1. Aunt Marilyn sounds like a wonderful person who will be missed here on earth. At least we may rejoice in her being Jesus and look forward to joining her there one day!

  2. JoAnn, your tribute to Marilyn was so very touching! We are all living an “average” life, but everything we do in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ is extraordinary in His eyes. My memories of Marilyn are from very long ago, but they were all wonderful memories.
    Eternal rest grant unto Marilyn, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen

  3. and just in case you were all wondering about the people in the picture, they are L to R:
    Maryann Sligay (JoAnn’s aunt & Marlene’s sister), Marlene Archambeau (JoAnn’s mom), Marilyn Ray (JoAnn’s “aunt”), Helen Archambeau (Marlene & my dear mother & JoAnn’s grandmother) and Helen Bartle (my mother’s dearest childhood friend)

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