Today is Tuesday, June 19th, 2007; Karen's Korner #1087

Our community lost a great lady last week; and I lost a good friend. Donna Orte died early Monday morning. It wasn't a surprise to anyone as the doctors' diagnosis said it would be six months, about as many months ago.
Our church family and her family helped celebrate birthday number 73 in March, because everyone knew it would be her last. We had fun roasting Donna for her human frailties, but most of all we had an opportunity to appreciate her. Even though she was beginning to move through her senior years, she had the will, desire, and energy to participate in everything that came her direction.
I am an idea a person with lots of work projects and Donna would be one of my prime targets. It wasn’t uncommon for me to call Donna’s home.


“Hello, Donna. This is Karen Weld.”


“Yes, Karen.”


Then I would go on with my latest project:  “Would you help a couple of times this school year with What’s for Supper?” "Can you be part of the group to invite lake residents to summer early lake worship?" "Are you interested in being a bell ringer in Mason City for Salvation Army?" "Some of us are going to feed the homeless in Des Moines. Would you like to be part of the group?" "Can you furnish for.....(who knows what group)?" "Would you be willing to pick several youth for whom to pray this year as part of our church's praying for the youth program?"


One year we had lots of apples on our apple tree. So I called Donna, "Would you like to come out some day and make applesause for yourself, for us, and for 'What's for Supper?' (weekly church suppers)?


  And to all of those questions and many more, asked by me and by others, Donna always had the same response:


“Yes, I would be more than happy to help!”


Donna taught us how to live and how to age well.


And then came the lung cancer diagnosis. She made the decision not to do extra-ordinary measures to extend her life, as with or without treatments the outcome would be the same.


But she lived, entertained, went to church when she could, attend a granddaughter's graduation and party, made plans, told others her thoughts in the extra weeks and months she had. She would tell about how real Jesus was to her and how He was taking care of her now more than ever. And how sometimes when alone or at night, she would attack the devil and his attempts at nagging negative thoughts. She began to look forward to heaven more and more as the days turned into weeks. She was not afraid of her future and fate; it looked good to her!


And she didn't hesitate to tell everyone how much she loved them!!


As more than one person said after a visit at Donna's retirement apartment, "She taught us how to live and she showed us how to die."


Last Thursday, Flag Day, we drove to the cemetery following the funeral procession with streets lined with Anerican flags.


I couldn't help but think, "The flag stands for freedom and today they are waving in the breeze as a tribute to Donna and her life. The Bible says it best, 'You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free!.'" (John 8:32)


Donna is free!