Mom Beekman–a Lasting Legacy

 

My mother-in-law died this afternoon.

I met her in print before I met her in person. When I was in college I was an avid reader of missionary biographies and someone handed me a copy of “Peril By Choice”, the story of John and Elaine Beekman, intrepid Wycliffe Bible Translators in Southern Mexico. At the time I was already planning to go with Wycliffe to serve as a translator. The book was inspirational, and I wondered if in the course of time I might run into the Beekman family.

I did.

That is a long story in itself, but I am forever indebted to and thank Steve Marlett, a fellow seminary student (and Wycliffe member) for introducing me to the Beekman’s daughter, Judy. The Beekmans moved to the International Linguistic Center in Dallas in 1973. John Beekman taught a number of translation courses as well as being the Translation Coordinator for Wycliffe. In the process of getting to know Judy I also got to know her family, her Mom and Dad, and her two younger brothers, Tom and Gary.

Getting to know Judy was no easy task. Judy is one of those types of people that by her nature is a private person. She played her cards close to her vest and I discovered it was difficult to get to know the real Judy. What to do? By this time I was a frequent visitor to the Beekman house, always warmly received. They had a single daughter and they were doing their best not to impede the natural course of events should events proceed in a natural way. And so it was at this time that I included her family and particularly her mother in my observations to see what they were like. And the more I watched her Mom, the more impressed I was. If the old saw, “Like mother, like daughter” held true, I would be an idiot to pass up on her daughter. I didn’t. As I have said before, I won the lottery.

Here is the mother-in-law I got to know.

She was loving. There always seemed to be enough room in her heart to love one more person. And by doing so this in no way diluted her love for those she already loved. And for her own kids she heaped it on, a triple scoop. She was a dedicated listener. She looked you right in the eye and waited until you were done. She loved by giving of her time, cheerfully. She was affectionate, a hugger. And those that love well are, in turn, well loved. I wish you could have seen her three children when she was diagnosed with leukemia. They went the third mile. They researched. They called. They investigated. She got treated at M.D. Anderson and they were there. Their level of devotion was extraordinary. I know this sounds kind of strange but it is something I have described as a “fierce love”.

Mom Beekman–A Lasting Legacy

 

My mother-in-law died this afternoon.

I met her in print before I met her in person. When I was in college I was an avid reader of missionary biographies and someone handed me a copy of “Peril By Choice”, the story of John and Elaine Beekman, intrepid Wycliffe Bible Translators in Southern Mexico. At the time I was already planning to go with Wycliffe to serve as a translator. The book was inspirational, and I wondered if in the course of time I might run into the Beekman family.

I did.

That is a long story in itself, but I am forever indebted to and thank Steve Marlett, a fellow seminary student (and Wycliffe member) for introducing me to the Beekman’s daughter, Judy. The Beekmans moved to the International Linguistic Center in Dallas in 1973. John Beekman taught a number of translation courses as well as being the Translation Coordinator for Wycliffe. In the process of getting to know Judy I also got to know her family, her Mom and Dad, and her two younger brothers, Tom and Gary.

Getting to know Judy was no easy task. Judy is one of those types of people that by her nature is a private person. She played her cards close to her vest and I discovered it was difficult to get to know the real Judy. What to do? By this time I was a frequent visitor to the Beekman house, always warmly received. They had a single daughter and they were doing their best not to impede the natural course of events should events proceed in a natural way. And so it was at this time that I included her family and particularly her mother in my observations to see what they were like. And the more I watched her Mom, the more impressed I was. If the old saw, “Like mother, like daughter” held true, I would be an idiot to pass up on her daughter. I didn’t. As I have said before, I won the lottery.

Here is the mother-in-law I got to know.

She was loving. There always seemed to be enough room in her heart to love one more person. And by doing so this in no way diluted her love for those she already loved. And for her own kids she heaped it on, a triple scoop. She was a dedicated listener. She looked you right in the eye and waited until you were done. She loved by giving of her time, cheerfully. She was affectionate, a hugger. And those that love well are, in turn, well loved. I wish you could have seen her three children when she was diagnosed with leukemia. They went the third mile. They researched. They called. They investigated. She got treated at M.D. Anderson and they were there. Their level of devotion was extraordinary. I know this sounds kind of strange but it is something I have described as a “fierce love”.

Right to the very end she received from them the tender, gentle, loving kindness she herself had exhibited all her life. I was there in the hallway this week when a nurse was talking to Gary and told him she had never ever seen such loving devotion from a family. Mom got what she gave.

She was marked by grace. Her life manifested grace. How? She had a hard time thinking ill of anyone. She did not have a vindictive bone in her body. She did not indulge in gossip (and believe me, she knew some juicy tidbits). And in the past several months, subject to increasing pain and discomfort, she never complained. She was not only gracious in her dealings with others, she even moved gracefully.

She was committed to service. She committed over 50 years of her life to one organization, Wycliffe Bible Translators, first as a translator alongside her gifted husband. Later as a proofreader (I sense her standing behind me right now), hostess and extraordinary wife to a man living on borrowed time because of his heart. She served. She served well.

Mom Beekman’s life was marked by love, grace and service. But that was not the sum total of who she was. She had a hearty laugh, a bouquet, that went well with her sense of humor. She enjoyed music, sang well, and played the piano. She was frugal, but generous–inversely proportional to that frugality.  She loved her old house. When I would suggest we could get something a bit better, a bit more energy efficient she would demur and tell me that her house brought her joy and lots of good memories. She loved old movies. She loved her Mexico gang–the women from her Mexico days that would go eat breakfast at Owens once a month. She was committed to her church and church family.

She left a legacy. Three kids. 12 grandkids. She lived a life worth living.

Mom Beekman did not die. She was born again…again. Heaven is the richer for it.