Sunday, August 01, 2010

First Funeral Eulogy (for Eva Lundy)

Proverbs 31:10-31
10 [c] A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Eulogy

I imagine that if Eva could speak to us today after seeing us cry, hearing our kind words, and choosing songs that we think she would like she would be very moved and thankful. She would flash that smile that meant so much to so many of us. Her face might even get a little red out of embarrassment that anyone would say so many nice things about her.

I also imagine the first words that would come out of her mouth would be something like, “Good night, I don’t know why everyone is making a fuss over little old me.”

I got to know Eva late in her life. She had just hurt her leg a little bit. She was not able to walk like she used to be able to. I think this at times, at least with me, led her to be a little reflective. When I visited with her, I got the impression that she saw her life as good, and yet at the same time fairly common and ordinary. This was something she was very happy with. But I believe Eva was far from ordinary. Eva, was in fact, a woman of extraordinary character and class, who expressed her faith in simple ways as she went about her everyday life. And that kind of simple, honest, real, authentic faith is very unique, and becomes less and less common every day.

Eva would say that she would not want us making a fuss over “little old me”, but there was very little that was little about Eva. She stood tall in stature. Her grandson Eric said that even as he grew taller than his grandmother, he still felt like he was always looking up at her. I think many of you felt the same way.

But there was nothing small or little about the way Eva lived her life. Each of you can testify to this. There is nothing small about living a righteous life. There is nothing small about living a life of character. There is nothing small about loving your neighbor. There is nothing small about being a good mother, a doting grandmother, a beloved auntie, or a faithful friend. There is nothing small about living a life of faithfulness to the Lord and to her church, Fowler First Baptist Church.

I have thought and prayed since Wednesday about what Scripture I would like to share to describe Eva. I wanted to find one that would speak to the kind person she was, and the kind of character she had. I thought and I thought. Then, as I was driving home from the family dinner out at Anna Jean’s last night, I felt led to share this passage from Proverbs 31. In many ways, Eva was a Proverbs 31 kind of woman. She was a woman of character

Eva and the woman in Proverbs 31 were both hard workers. Eva did not like to be idle. And as she got older it drove her crazy that she could not get out and do half of the things that she could do most of her life. Even as Eva’s mind was deteriorating, she would often talk about how she was doing chores and getting the wash done before noon. To stay active, there were many years that Eva would walk around town collecting pop cans. Sometimes people thought she did this because she was destitute. She wasn’t. She simply wanted to keep active. And do her part in helping keep Fowler a wonderful place to live. And the collected money from doing this helped her to give a generous gift to each of her grandchildren at graduation. She held jobs around town. She also held offices at the church, spending many years as treasurer of First Baptist, and many other years as a Sunday School teacher to the children of Fowler.

Eva was a caretaker. She looked out for folks. She delighted in her children and grandchildren. She adored her brothers and sisters as well. She made sure her family was taken care of with well-cooked meals including noodles made from scratch. She was also the kind that would take people under her wing who would benefit from and appreciate her attention and/or mentoring. She would not hesitate to set an extra place at the table for a family friend. She would seek to include people in her social circle who she felt needed a place to be and to belong. She enjoyed cleaning house for Doris Coberly as her health deteriorated, and trained her granddaughter Clair to take over the job as she grew older. Even in the last couple of years, Eva had this arrangement where she would read the paper, and then get the paper to Doris so that Doris could read the paper and not have to have a separate subscription.

Eva loved people. And she loved many of you. Eva showed often showed her family and friends she loved them through acts of service. She taught family and friends how to make pies from scratch. She would have grandkids over to spend the night, and get up early to make them a big, full breakfast that they would eagerly devour once they awakened. Many of you will attest to something that she did for you to let you know that she cared for you and was thinking of you. As humble as Eva was, she probably kept no mental account of the kindness she showed you, and it was you that still remember her good deeds even now.

Like the woman of Proverbs 31, her character extended into her relationship with Jesus. No dust settled on a book of crossword puzzles or a crossword dictionary in Eva Lundy’s home, and no dust settled on her Bible. If you look at Eva’s Bible, you could tell it was not a decoration, but rather a tool for living. The spines of her Bibles were cracked, and then put back together with packaging tape. The verses inside of Eva’s Bible were highlighted. Notes litter the sides of her old Bible, with summaries of what the passage of Scripture was saying. And those were just the Bibles she had in recent years. Because the Bible she treasured the most the dog tore off the end table and ate most of it. A sad story and a funny story, but a telling one. Her Bible was usually at her end table in the living room, and she read it daily.

Eva was also a woman of prayer. Even when her mind was not working as she would like it, her heart had been trained to pray. I remember visiting Roger and her in the hospital. I wanted to pray a simple prayer as I left her. She took it as an invitation to lead me and Roger in prayer. She couldn’t necessarily keep a train of thought for long at that point. So she kept praying a similar prayer with minor variations. That prayer was thank you. Thank you God for our family. Thank you God for my church. Thank you God for all that you made. Thank you God for Jesus. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

A couple of weeks later she was home, and being moved into the nursing home. She would fade from being awake to being asleep. I came to check in on her, and on the Lundy family. And as she would sit there, with Richard and Roger making arrangements around her, and she would sing a song of praise. Over and over again she would say “Alleluiah, Allleluiah, God is so good. Allelujah.”

Eva was such a woman of prayer that when her mind could not put many words together, she had trained her heart to sing. You could see the same thing when she was in chapel at the Fowler Health Care Center, and a song would click. And she would start singing along from heart. She might not be able to remember who I was, but when I would leave and I would pray the Lord’s Prayer with her, she still knew it from memory.

Finally, I think Eva would want me to say this. You don’t need to be sad for her. You may be sad because you miss her, but don’t be sad for her. She is with Jesus now. She is standing on the other side of eternity, and she is filled with joy. When Roger showed me where she left off in her daily Bible reading, it appeared that the last chapter that she read was Romans 6:23. It says this, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” Eva would want me to say today, from the other side of eternity, that her choosing to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior made all the difference in her life. And if you will accept him it will make all the difference in your life to.

Today, as we remember Eva, like the people around the woman in Proverbs 31, we rise up and call her blessed. We rise up and call her blessed because we have been blessed by her, and each of us has been enriched by knowing her. We call her blessed because she was a woman of character. We call her blessed because she was a woman who loved God, and faithfully lived her life following and trusting Jesus.

This world is going to miss Eva Lundy. This community is going to miss Eva Lundy. And I know I will too.

3 comments:

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Eric L said...

Thank you so much for your kind words.

Cammie Novara said...

"Her face might even get a little red out of embarrassment that anyone would say so many nice things about her." Truer words you won't find on the internet.