Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Rozalie Hope Stipp
Here she is.
Rozalie. Beth's grandma on her mom's side was born Martha Rosalie Polka. She was a wonderful, humble mother to her five daughters. Her husband, Joe Dhondt taught driver's ed. and coached football at a High School in East Moline, Il. When she was in her 40s Martha had a stroke that took away her movement on the right side of her body and her speech. Her life that was only half over was to finish far differently than she had expected. She became dependent upon Joe in nearly every way. Joe took on the responsibility of caretaker, cook, communicator, and sole breadwinner, all with the grace and joy of one who had loosed his life and found it. Joe died five years ago, and Martha has kept on, giving the sweetest smiles, the juiciest kisses, and the most joyful laugh you'll ever find.
Hope. We are raising our family in Little Village, a Mexican neighborhood with many good qualities, but a place also where the presence of evil is thick. We stick out here - sometimes like a beacon, and other times like a sore thumb. We came here not because we like evil or sticking out, but because we have sensed from the beginning of our marriage a call to bring light to the darkness that reigns in Little Village. Satan uses all sorts of principalities in here. Alcoholism, cycles of poverty, prostitution, witchcraft, drug abuse, domestic violence, inequitable education and health care, joblessness, marital infidelity, gang warfare, inadequate places for children to play. The list goes on, but what Satan does with these things here in Little Village (and elsewhere, of course) is bring people to their knees in despair. It is against despair in Little Village that we aim our lives. Saying the name Hope will be a reminder to us that darkness does not get the final say here, or wherever she goes.
Stipp. Even though Rozalie is as much Polka, Dhondt, Dame, Witt, Flint, Mitchell, and Remole as she is Stipp, she is named Stipp, and I am glad. Being a Stipp will first mean that she is raised in our home with her brothers and sister, who already understand themselves deeply as Stipps. This reality will sink down deep into her bones. She is sure to pick up on our laugh that consists mostly of noisy inhalations, our honesty, our love for one another, and our commitment to Jesus, all of which we Stipps have been given by our forbears. We will all tell her that "Stipps are tough," and "Stipps don't quit," just as my dad told me and his dad told him and on and on. And the name Stipp will be a gift, tying her to the past, and telling her who she is.