She lives within ten minutes of my apartment, just on the other side of the freeway. I don’t make the effort to see her often enough.
I said that I just called to check in and say hi, but she wasn’t fooled. After a few minutes of small talk, she asked in her gentle voice, “What can I do for you, sweetheart?”
I started crying. “…will you pray for me?”
“Would you like to come over?” she asked me in her knowing way.
“Yes, please.” I was five years old again, and I just wanted someone to hug me and tell me they love me.
I was at her house in just a few minutes, wearing sweatpants and no makeup. I kicked off my flip flops and settled onto her old, familiar couch. As she poured me some water in the kitchen, I heard her say with delight, “Oh, the cardinal is back!” I walked over to the window, where she eagerly showed me her bird feeder, full of color from the reds and blues of visiting cardinals and blue jays.
“Oh, and look at those squirrels!” Two squirrels chased each other around a tree. Grandma was genuinely delighted, childlike in her enthusiasm.
There is a sweetness to her – a gentleness and simplicity that comes with age. She truly finds joy in the little delights of every day. It was healing for me to see her – a graceful woman in her 80s who has weathered life well. Her life was not without seasons of pain and difficulty, but she speaks with fondness over the years of her life; even the trying times.
She reminds me that I can do this. She is a testament to the fact that there are survivors of the life’s heartaches and that it is possible to suffer well; to come out stronger, kinder, gentler and more loving. I don’t want to be selfish, heart-hearted and bitter. I want to be humble and selfless, looking to the needs of others and not drowning in my own self-interestedness.
Grandma is a portrait of how to walk this out. She has fought the good fight; she has finished the race; she has kept the faith. She is leaving a legacy of love and faithfulness and, Lord willing, someday I hope to be able to inspire a granddaughter of my own in the way she inspires me.