Marian McGrew Scheele
Of all the people who have contributed articles to Union Life magazine over the years, none has been as consistently praised and enjoyed as Marian. Her warm mix of sound theology, excellent writing, down-to-earth humanity and awesome wonder at God's great love and goodness proved to have universal appeal.

To us as editors, she was a dream. She did her homework. No piece of writing ever came to us from her that she hadn't crafted well, and carefully edited prior to sending. Many times as we put a magazine together, we would lament its lack of a touching, sound article to tie all the pieces together. In the next mail, we would be delighted at the sight of the familiar manila envelope with Marian's name in the corner. Invariably, it was just what we needed, right on target with the theme of that magazine.

Between 1991 and 1998 we published 22 of Marian's articles. Over the next few months, we will begin posting them as Reprints, and then they will stay there, archived, so that they will always be available.

Marian's struggle with macular degeneration continued throughout the seven-plus years of our association. Without much loving help from daughter Pat and grand-daughter Carrie, Marian's writings would never have reached us, even though Marian had a large-screen computer, and used super-large bold type. In her last year, determined to share with us her "from the inside out" view of God and His compassion, she obtained a voice-activated word-processing program. Despite much pain, and several debilitating illnesses, Marian stayed in touch.

In March 1998 she sent an article with a note attached: "You can probably deduce from the lack of proper format that this was put together without eyesight (but with prayer!). Putting thoughts together in a coherent way could be likened to putting a puzzle together using the back side rather than seeing the picture."

The article she enclosed appeared in the Sep/Oct, '98 issue of Union Life. It was entitled "A God-wrapped Gift of Love.'

In February, 1999, she wrote: "Well, to my surprise, I am sitting here at my computer. I don't have very much company now, because it is very difficult to talk -- it mostly comes out as a whisper. The doctors predict that I have only a couple of months, but of course no one can say for sure. The only sure thing being a wonderful sense of His presence, even through some horrific times. I am praising God for all of it, even though there are times when it is like walking through a frightening jungle. It's always a struggle to look ahead, but finally He's always there, and more real each time."

In March, 1999, she wrote: "While my sister was here, I was largely confined to bed, having one of my bad times. There was good in the bad, of course. One evening [daughter] Pat read a chapter of The Wind in the Willows to me. I had been ill all that day, with painful breathing, nausea and helplessness, but as I lay there on my lovely antique bed with pink sheets, with the warm glow of the lamp falling over Pat and the chair and the book, I was supremely happy. It was a God-lit moment."

After that time, her health and strength continued to fail, though her loving spirit remained strong. She quietly went to be with the Lord on September 17th, 1999, just a few weeks short of her 81st birthday.

We miss Marian.

We are thankful for her life, and offer the accompanying article as a tribute to that Light-filled life. We will let her have the final word.

In a letter from March, 1998, Marian wrote, "I want to thank all of you for being so kind in your acceptance of my small offerings. As my sister said, 'What are you doing there with all those well-known writers?' And I often asked myself the same question, and can only conclude that it is one of the great mysteries of the age. Well, won't we have fun in the Celestial City sharing and laughing and loving and adoring the One who made us and redeemed us, and is the Father of us all. Meanwhile, I feel very close to you all when I lift you up to Jesus in prayer."