The sun was fading behind the distant trees as Anna rose from her chair. She had sat on the porch of the old home place all afternoon hoping someone would come by to sit a spell.
Goodness, how fast life had passed. It would soon be 20 years since Tom had gone to be with the Lord. Anna had not felt she could go on, but time helped her realize God had left her on the earth for a reason.
Anna had found her reasons for living in all the times she had sat with Gail, her youngest granddaughter, working through “girl” problems, giving advice on life, love and Godly living. The twosome had spent many hours together. Gail seemed to have a fascination with her grandmother, even making notes of funny or sad things during many of their visits.
The pretty white haired lady closed the door and reached for the lamp switch next to her favorite chair. She picked up the current book she was reading and found her place. Books had become her best friends. But as she read tonight, her mind drifted back to a time when she was young.
Tom had asked her to marry him at a very young age. But they both were sincere and hopelessly in love. She remembered the night he asked for her hand in marriage. “Anna, you know you’re the girl for me. I will never marry if you say no.”
Anna’s heart was pounding as she looked into Tom’s eyes. Within the month they were married. And what a marriage it was. There was never a dull moment. Tom’s love for life and Anna was what any girl longed for. She remembered well the night they stayed too long at a neighbor’s house. They had walked there with every intention of staying only a few minutes. Suddenly it started to rain and Tom pulled Anna out the door. “Good night friends, we are on our way!” They hurried along, with clothing clinging like skin. Suddenly Tom stopped in his tracks and grabbed Anna, pulling her close, “I can’t believe that I forgot to tell you how crazy I am about you.”
“But you have told me! Tom, let me go, it’s raining harder. I can’t believe this, we are crazy!
Tom’s wouldn’t let go. “But I have to tell you how much I love you. I want to count the ways.”
“You really are crazy, let me go! You can tell me at home!” Tom picked her up and carried her the rest of the way, to the edge of the porch. Anna smiled as the memory flooded her mind. Why had that one come back out of their lifetime of love?
Anna opened her book again, trying to concentrate. But the rerun of life continued. There had been hard times in the couple’s life. They had lost their first child, a son. The world turned bleak for Tom during those months and Anna wondered if he would ever be the man full of life that he once was. But she continued to pray that God would watch over him in a way that she couldn’t and that He would put the gift of joy back in his heart and life.
Late one afternoon, the clouds had gathered and the sky looked heavy. Anna wondered where Tom was. He had walked out into the apple grove they had planted. She hoped he would return soon before the storm came. She could see the drops beginning to fall on the window pane. It was late summer and the flowers near her window would surely enjoy the drink of water.
The silence was broken by a tap on the door. Anna turned in that direction, and saw Tom standing there. As she opened the door, he took her by her arm and pulled her outside. “Let’s walk in the rain, it’s only a sprinkle,” he urged. She didn’t mind. The afternoon was hot, the wetness would feel good. As they walked, Tom talked. Slowly he emptied his heart and soul of all the anger and hurt he had felt over the last several months since the loss of their child. As he talked he began to heal. God was working the miracle Anna had asked for. That afternoon the sun began to shine again in their lives. Early the next morning, after Tom left for work, Anna found a note on her dressing table: “My love, I know the last months have not been easy for you. And I know while I was hurting, you were praying. God gave me the best when you became my wife and God knows our heart’s desire for a child. But He also knows what is best. Please forgive me for any pain I have caused you. Love, Tom
Not so long after that rainy day walk, God blessed their lives with a daughter and later two sons.
As Anna sat musing about times gone by, she picked up paper and a pen and began to write:
WILL YOU LISTEN
I have stories to tell, will you listen?I have memories galore to share.Its stories I cherish so dearly.About life, love and burdens we bear. A life lived is quite an experience Each has their story to tell. Please won’t somebody listen?Then go and I’ll wish you well.
But first, just give me a momentTo share life as only I can,With crooks and turns and cautionsThat show God’s mighty hand.
For you see, life doesn’t just happen.There’s a definite reason I’m here.Perhaps it’s to tell you my storyThat can cheer you on without fear. I have stories to tell. Will you listen?If you won’t, you lose, not I.For you see, my story may help youWhen life makes you question why.
I have stories to tell, of God’s kindnessOf His love when I lost my way.You never can tell, you might need it.At the end of a troublesome day.
I have stories to tell,Will you listen?
There was so much Anna wanted to say about life and how important everyday decisions are. She hoped that she had instilled in all her grandchildren the importance of letting Christ have His way in their life. Maybe before long she could tell them again. Maybe they would come by and listen. She sat for a while in the dim light, looking at the words she had written. Yes, that was what she wanted to say. She had become tired. She laid her head back and closed her eyes.
Suddenly she felt Tom’s hand. His smile was beckoning. She had missed his gentle ways. She felt a rush of warmth in her heart, she felt joy. Did she dare go with him?
Hours later Gail found the last words her grandmother had written. She had come to tell Anna about Dan, the wonderful man she had met, just like Anna said she would someday.
Gail brushed back the tears as she spoke. “I’m not sure she knew how much she influenced my life all these years.” She tucked the poem gently into her purse, determining in her heart that Anna’s guidance would help her lead her children and grandchildren in their life walk.
Anna had fulfilled her purpose. She had started a chain reaction that would last through eternity.
Antje is a columnist for Parents & Kids Magazine. She and her husband, Richard, spend time between Mississippi and Michigan.