I remember one afternoon my aunt began muttering to herself as she washed the dishes. The ladies had left and I was helping dry and put away things. It seemed my aunt forgot I was there. I was still hearing her talking to herself as I swept the floor. 'I will have to go report this to the pastor.' she said.
My uncle came in after stomping his feet on the back porch. He sat down and I poured him some coffee. 'Your getting to be quite a little helper Susan.' I grinned and said 'my pleasure, Uncle Sam.' I glanced over at my aunt and I guess my uncle saw my questioning look. 'Hey, what's going on here Tillie?? You look like a rooster getting ready to crow.'
My aunt suddenly stopped talking to herself and sat down. I made myself scarce then. As I was picking up my school papers; I heard my aunt explode. 'Those two women have the gall to leave my bible study and open up their own just to spite me. My teaching offends them so they think they can do a better job. Who do they think is going to follow them?'
My uncle sat quietly sipping his coffee until Aunt Titus ran out of steam. 'Tillie, would it be wrong to have another women's group? How about several other women's groups? I don't know, but surely you aren't thinking that you are the only teacher in this church. My Tillie just wants to magnify God, and if Jesus is magnified several times over I am sure my wife would be pleased. This woman sitting at my table is not the Tillie I know. You are tired and have many things on your plate. I am sure that God has a plan for those women, just as he does for you. Perhaps this is God's way of dividing some of the work and taking a load off you. This house can get quite hectic with so many women with different fires for you to tamp down. Come on sweetheart, let God handle this and lets not be offended or blindsided by the ugly sneaky way it is being done. In the long run, it's all about Jesus. Not our feelings.'
My aunt took a deep breath and let it out. 'wow, I feel like you stuck a pin in my balloon Sam. Thanks for bringing me back down to earth.' I heard what seemed to be kissing and then my uncle went back outside.
That evening after supper, my aunt phoned one of the women who was going to leave the bible study. 'Jean, could I come over? I need to talk and without the other women present.' After she hung up, she told us she would be back in an hour or two. Later I learned that she went over to humble herself before this woman and encourage her with her new bible study. She gave her offer to help out in anyway she could. She did encourage her to let the pastor in on her idea so it could be announced in church for any women who wanted to attend. My aunt informed her that she would not stand in her way at any time. Jean sat across from her and began to cry. 'Oh, Tillie, I thought this was going to be a terrible meeting. Here you are encouraging me when I should be apologizing. Can you ever forgive me?' The two women became very close after that. In fact they began to have a quiet lunch often and discuss their roles in the church and get ideas from each other.
I learned a valuable lesson as well. My aunt was not without issues of her own. Yet, she kept herself visible and humbled herself before people. 'Never isolate yourself with your own counsel Susan. If the only person you rely on is yourself, there is no room for Jesus to direct your path using his other children. There is strength in family and destruction and hurt in isolation.'
One evening the phone rang while we were eating. My aunt answered it and became very excited. After she hung up we asked what was going on. 'Well, good and bad. My son has been drafted into this Korean war. This leaves our Judy alone with our grandchildren. I have invited her to stay with us until Bob's return. Our family just got a whole lot bigger.'
We children were very excited to have babies in the house. My uncle Sam smiled and hugged Aunt Tillie. We prayed for their safe travels before we went to bed that night. My aunt explained that we would be cleaning out the two spare bedrooms the next day. We girls went to sleep that night very excited.
We loved our cousins and second cousins. Due to their ages we called then Uncle Bob and Aunt Judy and felt our second cousins as our real cousins. Jamie was six and Joan was five. The baby was just six months old. Her name was Mattie. She was named after our Aunt Titus, who's real name was Matilda.
Once again, our world was to change.