For those who know our friend and Kilns Trustee, Kim Gilnett, or who knew his dear wife, Jennifer, we regret to inform you that Jennifer Gilnett died Thursday, September 11, 2014, after a swift and severe illness.
A memorial service will be held today in just a few minutes at 11 a.m. Pacific Time, at First Free Methodist Church, 3200 Third Avenue West, Seattle. The service will be live-streamed at http://new.livestream.com/FFMC/Gilnett.
In lieu of flowers, donations to support the Jennifer and Kim Gilnett Scholarship Endowment will be gratefully received. Please designate your gift in that name at spu.edu/give or Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Avenue West, Suite 304, Seattle, WA 98119. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/seattletimes/obituary.aspx?n=jennifer-johnson-gilnett&pid=172528059#sthash.26my6ybP.dpuf
“During our summers at The Kilns, I would often pause in front of Joy’s portrait in the room of her namesake. Many thoughts came to mind, in forefront, the unfathomable sense of loss Lewis must have felt upon her death. For me, this spot in a house full of diversions became a place of prayerful reflection. With the coming events in our lives, the prayers I often said there grow deeper in their intentions.
We were a happy crew hosting the Summer Seminars. To our surprise, we discovered a familial bond, three sisters and a brother held close by days of hurried domesticity. Like the most fortunate of brethren, we were to share some of life’s happiest moments, and in due course, together shoulder its most painful ones.
The first break in our sunny skies came with the devastating illness and death of our beloved sister, Kate Simcoe. Only a year and a few months have passed since she left us, leaving a chasmic void in our hearts that, honesty demanding, will never be filled. Kim Gilnett, Debbie Haney, and I, in a manner shared by the closest of siblings, helped one another cope with the loss of one so dear, and continue to do so yet.
With this heart wound still fresh, we find ourselves pausing again. No matter how many severe blows we receive in this life, pain, on entering our lives through another door, never loses its prodigious ability to steal our breath away. Upon hearing of Jennifer Gilnett’s illness, through a night of rending prayer and supplication, and on the final receiving of news that God had called her home, we suffered the arrows again, so brutal and incomprehensible. We ask ourselves how the brilliant and talented wife of our brother, Kim, could be snatched away in a cruel and shocking instant?
I had the opportunity to meet Jennifer once, but knew her beforehand from the deserving praise of her husband. In our brief time in Seattle, we chatted easily over dinner in an Irish pub. We traded stories and mishaps of an editor’s life, tossing about the jargon of the trade with convivial sympathy. I was overwhelmed by her accomplishments, and more so by her remarkable humility concerning them. She was elegant and charming with an easy manner. I understood immediately why Kim loved her so. They were a match truly blessed by Heaven.
In years past, visitors to The Kilns were enthralled by tours given by Kim and Kate. They both delighted in telling the inspiring story of faith personified by Lewis and Joy Davidman. Every summer on the anniversary of her death, we paid a visit to Joy’s resting place at the Oxford Crematorium. After placing flowers, we would pause for prayer before the beautiful plaque commemorating the vast and inscrutable love of a man for his bride.
Her memorial epitaph, written by Lewis, is as follows:
“Here the whole world (stars, water, air,
And field, and forest, as they were
Reflected in a single mind)
Like cast off clothes was left behind
In ashes, yet with hopes that she,
Re-born from holy poverty,
In lenten lands, hereafter may
Resume them on her Easter Day.”
We find ourselves pausing once again with great sadness. Strengthened by Lewis’ words, we join in remembrance of the deep love between a man and his wife. In Kim and Jennifer’s life together, faithful to God’s plan for marriage, we see a reflection of Christ, the eternal bridegroom, and His love for us.
For now, our hearts ache for Kim with immeasurable sorrow. We cover him with our prayers and love. Yet, we do not mourn without hope. With our faces wet with grief, we await the heavenly wedding feast where tears are no more.”