I grew up several hours away from Uncle Nathan and Aunt Eva and didn't often see them. But with three small children in tow, and needing to be closer to family after a divorce, we moved to Cache Valley, Utah, and into their midst.
After several moves across town we finally settled for 3 1/2 yrs. right across from Uncle Nathan and Aunt Eva- in their 'little log cabin on the prairie' as they called it. Built on acreage left from my Grandpa Israelsen's dairy farm, each of the 8 living children were offered land. My Dad had retired from BYU Engineering and...it was time for he and mom to move back to their childhood area and to be near their siblings. We followed them a few years later, cared for their home while they served a mission, and...then, after a year away, moved back to help care for them and their 'log home' after my mother's second back-surgery. This was where when we were able to get to know Uncle Nathan better and to learn from his example.
In thinking back over the past several years the one thing that really stands out for me is that Uncle Nathan would often bring us fresh cut flowers from his yard. He loved beautiful things and....was kind enough to reach out to us.
In his later years he wasn't able to do much physically, couldn't hear well, and...didn't know if he had much to offer. But...to me and my children, he was an angel. Each time I'd hear a knock on our little basement apartment and see him standing at the door with a fresh bouquet - I'd tear up.
What he didn't know was that it was a very difficult time for us - in so many ways - and...his tender mercy to us was a very sweet and strengthening thing for me. To know that he even would think about us - often made me cry. Life is about those sweet things to each other; lifting a soul, acknowledging the existence of someone else, being thoughtful in doing something for someone else, and...just caring for someone in need.
I'll never forget his sweet kindnesses to us. He did what he could and....it was extremely meaningful to us.
God Be With You Until We Meet Again, Uncle Nathan.
Mormon Tabernacle Choir