When I was young, my grandmother came to live with us. She had been living alone since my grandfather passed away from lung cancer, or for more than three years. The telltale signs of dementia were entering her world, and it was time for her to come and be a part of our family.
I loved my grandmother, and I knew she loved me. She never tired of telling stories, and she had so many of them. She was filled with tales of Missouri farm life, brimming with family history dating back to the Civil War and beyond. She was always ready to play a game of cards or hide-and-go-seek, and had lots of ‘car riding games,’ that only required our imagination. She was my ‘partner,’ we had fun together, and I loved to hear her laugh.
She would buy Whitman’s chocolates from the drugstore because they had a guide to which chocolate was where in the box. She was smart that way, knowing her grandchildren might poke holes in the bottoms to see if they really wanted to eat that particular chocolate or not. She would hide the box of candy in her dresser drawer, and then she would show me where she had hidden it. She would say, “They’re here if you want one, but don’t let them spoil your dinner;” it was understood I could partake with discretion, and I respected that warning and appreciated her trust.
I remember one time, my family was quarrelling. I looked to my grandmother, and she was sitting in her chair sleeping. I wondered how she could be sleeping at a time like this! I went to her, and kneeled on the floor putting my hands in her lap. “Gram, are you sleeping?”
She opened her eyes with a smile and said, “No, I’m not sleeping, dear. I’m praying for our family.”
Without thinking I blurted out, “Oh, that’s good. We need it, Gram!” She laughed, and gave me a hug. She felt like a kindred spirit, always making me feel loved and secure.
She always carried a pocket Bible with her. In fact, I don’t think she owned a dress without a pocket in it. At times I would be watching television, and when a commercial would come on I would turn about and see her reading this Bible. I asked her one time, why she read the Bible so much. She said it was the best book in the world, and that no other one could even compare.
“Really! Why?” I asked.
“Because this is from God. Everything you ever need to know is in this book. The rest is just idle conversation.” I didn’t understand until many years later the profound truth of this statement.
My grandmother lived her faith. She never lectured me about believing, or being a better person. She never found fault with me when I did the wrong thing, but would be very quiet as my parents corrected me. Knowing she was disappointed in me held so much weight, and I would try to make amends knowing that when I did I would see her smiling, and nodding- all was forgiven.
I had wonderful parents, and my mother was a strong Christian, but it was my grandmother who taught me by example the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. She passed away when I was in my early twenties. I was at a time in my life when I didn’t have the time for her that she always had for me. I could regret this, and yet I know she of all people would have understood. It would be far more important for her to know the indelible imprint she left on my heart for the Lord. To know that in her walk with Christ, He had shown me the right path as well.
I know where my grandmother is today, and I look forward to being with her in our Lord’s presence someday. I thank God for my grandmother; like Christ, she was a light in my life I didn’t deserve. I will be eternally grateful for her, and humbled He put her in my life. God makes no mistakes; it’s up to us to see the opportunities and His grace. Thank you, LORD.
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