In the next room, you hear your nephew praying with his grandparents. In your father’s final moments, he prays the Lord’s prayer loudly, as he seems to realize he’s about to live into the promise made to him at baptism: everlasting life with God, our Father. And then there’s the gift of being able to watch your mother live out her faith in her everyday life; a woman who always looked for the good in people and wanted the best for everyone.
These are but a few glimpses; beautiful memories that Linda Lear and her mother, June Monson hold. Experiences that flow from the gift of generations of family, who grounded their respective clans, in Christ- centered living. What began with rituals of prayer around the table at meals; spending time in prayer with the children at bedtime; seeing to it that the rhythm of the week began with Sunday worship; provided firm faith foundations that generation after generation pass forward.
Nestled in south central Minnesota, forty-five miles west on Highway 12, is the community of Atwater. This quiet, little town was home to Elroy (Albert) and June Monson. They raised their young family of five children there, including daughter, Linda Lear. Elroy passed in 2012 and June now resides at Parkview Care Center.
Linda remembers that not only were her siblings happy to play at home, but kids were circulating through the house all the time;
My mom wanted the neighborhood kids to have a safe, fun, place to spend the days. Plus, I think she found comfort in knowing what her kids were doing.
An integral part of the life of the Monson clan, was their involvement in church. Immanuel Lutheran was within walking distance of their home and from Sunday school to youth group the children were active. June sang in the choir, often sharing her gift as a soloist at funerals. Probably more important to the faith formation of Linda and her siblings, were the faith practices that were a fabric of their life everyday.
Once home from church, June and Elroy would engage their kids to hear what they had learned in Sunday school that day. Grace was said at meals; they all were taught the Lord’s Prayer; and at night time they always prayed with their children, being sure to ask God to bless, protect, and heal all the family and relatives. They were building a firm foundation of faith as a family.
And as noted earlier, the door of their house was always open. June and Linda fondly remember that on Christmas Eve, after the midnight service, they’d host an open house for family, friends, kids home from school; anyone, really, who wanted to enjoy some homemade Christmas cookies and time to visit.
Today, June’s children and grandchildren are spread out over the United States and Europe. Traditions have changed and evolved over time and now include extended family; yet faith, hope, and love still abide…deeply. Her legacy she hopes to leave her family with comes from the wisdom of a life well lived: “Do the right things so you can have a good life. Think of other people. Go to church and pray daily.” Praise be to God.