I need to tell you this story as my memorial: This is my living legacy as a witness of God’s great love to you before I die of pancreatic cancer. The question that haunts me before it happens is… How will you remember me?
Things were not always the way they are now. Today, we all love each other and get along so well—so well, that when we are apart we miss each other. This was not always the case; there was a prolonged period of time when your grandmother and I did not get along at all. In fact there was a rift in our family—a rift so wide and so deep I never thought we could ever repair it.
It all started with one “little lie”. I was angry with grandma over some trivial thing—I can’t even remember what it was—so I claimed she had physically abused me when I was a child, which of course she adamantly denied, because it wasn’t true. This lie escalated as satan roared and made things look worse than what they were, and the rift grew and grew.
I screamed at grandma on several occasions that I hated her. I slammed doors and stomped my feet. My rage escalated to a point where I finally shut her out of my life. Holidays, birthdays and other special days came and went. I wanted nothing to do with her. All this time, satan was laughing because he thought he had won by creating this rift in our family.
But, you need to understand, children: hatred hurts. One thing I’ve learned is that hatred hurts the hater just as much—if not more—than the one they are hating. I told myself over and over again that I hated my mother. But, after while, I grew weary of hating her, because deep down I knew the whole thing was based on a lie. See, feeding hatred takes much time and energy.
The hardest times for me were around Mother’s Day and Christmas. On Mother’s Day I wanted so bad to call my mom like I did for many years, but I held back. I hid that day, and jumped every time my phone erupted with a ringtone. When I went to bed that night, I cried myself to sleep.
Months passed. I went about my life, trying not to think about Grandma. Then, one Saturday night after I put you all to bed, I decided to watch an old movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. As the main character of this classic comedy struggled to get home for Thanksgiving, I laughed out loud as I always did, but the whole point of the film struck me in a serious way.
I wanted to go home for Thanksgiving, too.
I struggled with calling my mom—your grandmother---because it had been too long and I said way too many hurtful things to her, so I hesitated. I knew she would be at church the next day, so I decided to go. I sat in the back of the church and waited until they did the Altar Call at the end of the service. I stepped forward and sat on the front pew as tears streamed down my face. My mom appeared and knelt in front of me, with a towel, washcloth and a basin. She proceeded to wash my feet, one at a time. My mother had every reason in the world to hate me back, yet, here she was, in utter humility showing me love, forgiveness and mercy. She truly is a remarkable woman, and an awe-inspiring example.
The Bible says:
When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you. John 13:12-15 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)(HCSB)
My precious mom—your awesome grandma—and I wept together that wonderful Sunday. The false hatred disappeared from my heart like the passing of a severe storm, and the Son of God shined brightly that day.
The rift was gone.
Please treat Grandma well as she raises you.
I love you all so much.
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