Apr 1, 2013

Edith Schaeffer - Memories

As the intense pain of grief  slowly fades, I feel the need to say more about this dear woman who I was fortunate to count as a friend. There has been much that has been written about her accomplishements which are many, and Frank descibes his relationship with her from his perspective. Edith's love for her children was great, that was very evident. She was a woman who loved all of her children fiercly and her relationship with them is for them to talk about. But even though I only new Edith better in the later stages of her life, I witnessed her life for 25 years in L'Abri and have, along with my husband given those years to the ministry l'Abri.  She first impacted me through her writing,  reading L'Abri in my early teens. I guess the fact that I came from a family in Christian ministry with 3 older girls and a younger son like her children made her story grip me and I went on to read all I could of hers. I then went to Switzerland at 21, the day on thanksgiving that Dr. Schaeffer was rushed to hospital. I witnessed there an integrity between belief and practice that fed the longing of my soul, as it seemed possible to live as a christian at last. I was loved by the people who worked there, both intellectually  taking me seriously and practically by being welcomed into their lives. I became a part of the story as I participated in the Monday prayer meeting and listened to Edith's long prayers. The work of L'Abri began with an act of faith that marveled me, and the evidence of Edith carried on in all her life.

We celebrated Edith's 90th Birthday here in Rochester, here you can see the rose petals, candles and cream puffs, all in her honour. It was a happy time with old friends and was followed with her dancing to B.B.King. She was beautiful, even at 90 and I found it hard to keep up with her energy even at that age. There are many who knew her better and worked with her longer, but I am so thankful for the influence she had on my life.
My husband would read to her from P.G.Wodehouse everyday that she was with us and she loved it. He is great with all the accents and she adored his reading. She also enjoyed listening to Frank Sinatra as it would take her right back to her youth and the days that Fran would play her music to romance her. By this time her short term memory had become much worse, but she never lost her long-term memory. She loved the familiar - white table cloths, rice pudding, cups of tea and songs from long ago.

She was still able to enjoy new things, such as getting to know a dog and she loved our Bella and Bella loved her as you can see. She had a very real faith and the truth of christianity was central to her. All that is good, true and beautiful were her delight to the core. She said that she did not want to be veneer but to be solid wood to the core, and that she was.
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