Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Jewels - Maurine Burden

This article was published in the July 17, 2014 issue of The Mena Star.

Marjorie Maurine Jordan Burden passed away in August 2013. She was born in 1922 on an Indian Reservation in Winnebago, Nebraska. During World War II she was a real Rosie the riveter, working at Schrillo Aero Tool Engineering Co. in Los Angeles, California. She married in 1951 and had one child, Conrad in 1952. Her son had numerous health issues and passed away in 1956.  She spent the final years of her life at Peachtree Assisted Living in Mena, Arkansas.

I attended church with her since 1999. She was a quiet little lady who never talked about her past. She had no family in the area. When church members were going through her meager possessions while cleaning out her room they found file cabinets full of writing and family genealogy research. The following story was found in her writings and was read at her memorial service. It was a heart wrenching moment, but the story was so well written that I thought I would share it with my readers.

by Maurine Burden

"The disciples of Christ are called His jewels, His precious and peculiar treasure"

Many of us have treasure chests and in them we accumulate the treasure of our life's experience.  I have an old trunk that might well be called my treasure chest.  It is not richly carved like some old treasure chests that I've seen, but it holds my collection of treasures.

With the passing events of time, one by one these treasures are collected and placed in the chest for safe keeping. I had two dolls when I was a child that shared many of my childhood experiences. But there came a day when I washed up all of the little clothes, dressed the dolls in their best, bent over the old trunk - then for a brief moment before they were put away - I recalled the happiness we had had. As I closed the lid there wasn't the slightest wish to have those days back again, nor possible need for them in the future. Childhood was gone. Before me were other days and other experiences which would have to be met. And in the evening of those other days there would be other mementos to be put in my chest.

I said that I had "a" chest - now I have "two".  This second one holds my most precious treasure.  Well I remember the night I placed this treasure in the jewel box.

For days we had plead with God to preserve the life spark in this little body.  But now the anxious pleading had ceased.  God said that the time had come to place my precious treasure in the case for safe keeping.  As we entered the room this evening one of the first things that caught my glance was a beautiful little casket.  "Casket" means a place to put jewels.  What a beautiful little chest to put this precious jewel in - nothing so beautiful as this for my other treasures!

As with the dolls, so these little clothes had to be cleaned.  Tenderly we dressed the little body for the last time.  The little shirt, the pants, the socks, - each had a special memory.

When I lifted his cold little body to place it in the jewel box, for a brief moment I hugged him to my breast and was happy, terribly happy.  I recalled, as with the dolls, those former days.  Carefully I placed him in his resting place.  There was no wish to have those days back nor possible need for the future in this life.  As with childhood so these days too, were gone.  The time had come for this treasure to be placed in the chest.

Because I put my treasures in the old trunk doesn't say that they cease to be mine anymore; neither with my other jewel - it will always be mine.  However this chest God has placed beyond my reach, but I know it is safe for He has marked it's resting place.  We are sharers in "that blessed hope" of being united again on the resurrection morning.

Lest you should misunderstand, there were tears in this experience - lots of them - and it would not have been so easy as it was, even at that, had I not realized that he was now free from sin's power.  No wonder God says. "precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints".  Polished and placed beyond the reach of sin as they wait the call of the Lifegiver.

It was as if God had said, there is much work to do and one cannot wear his jewels while he works.  I will take care of them for you but now we must hurry...  I have other jewels, some are lost. Will you ready yourself and help me find them before they are swept away? The urgency of His message impressed me.

Get ready! Get ready! Get ready!

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