Cindy Kienol

One week ago life changed drastically.  Today we have only begun to grasp some of the implications of what happened.  We gather to affectionately remember and officially say good-bye to Cindy Kienol.  Before we do so, let’s seek God’s strength and comfort.  The Bible gives us this promise:

God is our refuge and our strength a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof, the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

With this promise in our hearts, please pray with me.

Father, life is pretty confusing at times.  This is one of those times.  There are questions.  There are regrets over things we wish we could have said but didn’t get the chance.  Most of all there is emptiness.  Please draw us close during this time.  Help us to find and know your strength.  We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Cindy L. Kienol, was born March 12, 1951 in LaHarpe, the daughter of Neal and Merle Rathbun Patterson.  As a child she was somewhat of a loner.  She enjoyed following Bill Pollmeier’s racing career.  As a child she battled the effects of curvature of the spine.

She was a 1969 graduate of LaHarpe High School and in 1992 earned a degree as a Medical – Clinical Office Assistant from Mid State College. She then worked as a Medical Assistant in Burlington, Iowa for Dr. Bedi and later for Dr. Todd. She also worked at Wal-Mart and at Methode. She enjoyed Nascar, traveling (she had lots of places she wanted to visit) and loved animals.  Her dog Mia was her constant companion.

Cindy had three daughters who filled her life with light.  She died on Thursday October 30, 2008 at her home.  She was 57.

She is survived by three daughters, Chrissie (Brent) Kienol-Berlett of Fort Madison, Iowa, Heather Kienol of Burlington, Iowa and Niki Kienol of LaHarpe, her father of LaHarpe and one sister, Carol Boecker of Maderia, Florida.

Cindy was certainly her own person.  I suspect if we had had the chance to ask her about this service she would have said, “Get some Margaritas and bury me in the back year. Have a little party in my honor.”

Cindy was certainly a character. She loved the races.  She was a big Dale Earnhardt fan.  She has a bunch of Earnhardt collectibles.  When Dale Earnhardt died she started rooting for Jr. She enjoyed hearing those words, “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

Cindy also loved playing Bingo in Blandinsville and Lomax.  She was an Elvis fan but didn’t like impersonators who weren’t good.  She liked to travel.  Once she swam with the dolphins. Cindy always wanted to go to the Mediterranean and Alaska.  She thought the perfect scenario would be to live on a beach somewhere (although she would probably complain about the heat or the sand.)

More than anything else, she loved her family.  Cindy was a good daughter.  She stopped by to see her parents often. She was involved in the lives of her kids.  She provided for them not just financially, but also emotionally.  If the kids were involved in something, Cindy was there to support them. If she felt someone was attacking one of her children, you would have to deal with a very angry mommy bear.

As a mom Cindy allowed her kids to have a good time.  She was a “cool” mom and other kids enjoyed coming over to the house. Cindy worked hard to help her kids reach their dreams.  She was a protective parent.  When young men wanted to date her daughters, Cindy was the one who would put the “fear of God” into them.  She was not above checking to see if her kids were where they were supposed to be or listening in on an extension phone. Cindy was a Girl Scout leader and I remember her being at every summer ballgame.   The girls knew they could talk to mom about anything.  Cindy would tell you what she thought about your friends or your decisions, but she was open to discuss anything.  The girls always knew that they could always come home.  When Brent and Dan came along Cindy welcomed them both warmly.

In fairness we need to also mention Cindy’s love of complaining.  There are some people in life who always see the positive side of things and then there are people like Cindy.  There are people who want to get along and fit in, and then there are people like Cindy.  Cindy was willing to work hard but she would probably complain while she was doing so.

You could never find a restaurant that Cindy would like.  She loved her Margaritas but complained that no one made them well.  If something didn’t go her way she would blame someone else.  In fact, it is said that her favorite phrase may have been “I told you so!”  Cindy would often tell the girls “Wait till you have a kid and then you’ll see how it feels.”

Cindy had a playful side.  Generally she showed that side through sarcasm.  I don’t think I ever stopped to talk to her in town, at the ball diamond or at Wal-Mart when she didn’t give me a hard time about something.  It was always playful and was her way of showing that she noticed you and liked you.

I always wondered if some of Cindy’s negativity was a defense mechanism because she seemed to have such a good heart.  I wondered if she felt others didn’t “see” her or appreciate her for the person she was.  She never did and never intended to “play the popularity game”.  She was her own person and had no use for those who couldn’t accept that fact. Maybe that’s why she loved animals so much. Animals have that great capacity to love you just the way you are.

Cindy Kienol had a big heart.  She worked hard.  She enjoyed life.  She seemed to hold nothing back.  She is one of those people we will come to appreciate more as we realize how much we miss her.

As we stand here today the natural question is: “Is this all there is?  Do you simply live, die, and then your ashes are scattered?”

I believe there is much more to life.  As we look at nature, as we marvel at the creation of life, as we wrestle with thoughts of right and wrong, and even as we ponder why we know “this can’t be all there is” we are led to conclude that there must be a God.  I believe anyone who honestly and sincerely examines the life and evidence regarding Jesus will realize that He is God in human form.  They will understand that He gave His life because of our rebellion. He rose from the dead to show His power and authority over the grave.  He is the One who promises that there is indeed life beyond the grave.  Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in me will live even though He dies.”   The promise is conditional; it is only for those who put their trust and hope in Him.

I don’t know what kind of faith Cindy had.  I’m pretty sure faith would have been something private to Cindy and she wouldn’t have talked about it.  She was baptized as a teen and went to church when she was young.  She had the information.  She went to church for special occasions.  She knew what the choices were.

I’m comforted by the fact that God is merciful and always does what is right and just. God understood and loved Cindy.  It’s my hope that in her own way, Cindy Kienol did trust Christ. If so, I find comfort in the thought of Cindy meeting Jesus and for the first time realizing that she is truly loved for who she is.  I’m hoping she has found what she (and all of us) yearns for all our lives.

If Cindy did believe, then even though this is the end of Cindy Kienol’s earthly life, we may yet see her again.  And when we do, I think we will be surprised with what we find.  Her smile will be deeper.  Her arms will be open and her attitude will be changed because she will now see life with a new perspective.  It will be the perspective of the One who has loved her fully.

Our challenge is to learn from Cindy.  We need to look beyond the surface of her life and see and remember her heart.  Our challenge is to face the reality of death and to pursue that which will enable us to “live even though we die.”  This is a time for sadness (someone significant in your lives is gone); it is a time of celebration (a time to celebrate and give thanks for the way Cindy enriched our lives), and it is a time for personal growth (as we are pushed to examine eternal questions).  May God help us to discover His comfort and to be transformed by His love.

Please pray with me.

Gracious Father, I thank you for Cindy’s life.  I cherish the memory of that twinkle in her eye when she was giving us a hard time.  I admire how hard she worked to provide for her family.  I thank you for these remarkable women she has raised.  Please grant her your mercy and grace.  We commit her to your care.

I pray for her family.  Help them as they make necessary decisions.  Guide them as they move forward in their lives.  Comfort them in the times of sadness.

Father, help us to see beyond the grave, if not with our eyes, help us to see with our hearts and minds.  Grant us hope in the midst of sadness we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.