Because of my grandma
In honor of my 100th post, I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you about someone that means quite a lot to me.
My grandma is amazing, beautiful, and in love with God. I owe much of who I am today to her.
Growing up, I was over at her house quite a lot. She lived, and continues to live, and in a little duplex, with her sister in one apartment and her in the other. Yes, they still live right next to each other, how cute is that? When I was young I was there during the summers when my parents were at work. I was there with all the rest of the family for Christmas, Easter, and other big events. I was there in high school when I needed a place to hang out before events at school, soccer games, or track meets. It didn’t matter if we were talking or she was doing something and I was just in the room. It was good to just be around her, to be with her. Plus, she lived near a lake with this really old, snarled tree that you could climb all over and for a little boy, what more could you ask for?
I remember she always made the whole family go to church with her on Christmas and Easter. Plus, there were those times during lent when we went with her to the early, early service and then to breakfast served by the church. I never resented going, I just didn’t get it. What can I say, I was young. That was her thing and I didn’t know why she always wanted us to go. Now, looking back it is easy to see and understand. Christ is her life. Her relationship with him is the most important thing to her and because of that she wanted the rest of her family to experience what was most dear to her. I get that now. I wish I had gotten it then.
When I was in college my parents got her a computer for Christmas. I was told my present to her would be to show her how to use it. I believe my response was something like “Yaaaaaaaaaay” (in a very unenthusiastic sort of way). It’s not that I didn’t want to spend time with her, it’s just that teaching a 70+ year old woman how to use a machine she has never seen or interacted with before was a slightly scary and daunting task. It was a bumpy road. We spent a lot of time doing the same steps over and over again, with her writing every step down on sheets of paper. She ended up with an impressive stack of paper and I wondered how much of it she really grasped and would be able to do. However, she has proved more than a capable learner. It wasn’t long before she was emailing and even instant messaging with the best of them. I was quite impressed. I still am.
I tell that story because it leads into the next. A year after college I moved to China to work for two years. Those two years were extremely difficult for me for multiple reasons, one of which was lack of communication with all those I left behind. I don’t think my friends and family meant to do that, I just think some people are better at communicating and staying in touch than others. However, my grandma was the exception to the rule. Not only did she instant message with me whenever she saw me online, but she sent an email almost every day that I was there. Most were simple “I was just thinking about you” emails, but some days they were the only thing that kept me going. Just thinking about those days and what she did brings a smile to my face and tears to my eyes.
It has been a rough last decade for her. Deaths and major illnesses in the family, combined with all the other things one has to deal with in life, have exacted their toll. What has amazed me is how she has made it through these difficult times with the same heart and outlook on life she has always had. I can only attribute this to her relationship with Christ and her knowledge that He is indeed everything and that He is always with her. Her love of her savior and friend is evident in every aspect of her life and it has been a great picture to me of what a real relationship with Christ looks like.
Last fall I went back to Tallahassee to meet up with some friends from college and go to an FSU football game. I stayed with my her while I was there. Because I had spent the last couple of years in Nashville and the three before that in San Francisco, we hadn’t seen each other that much. That weekend gave us the chance to really spend some quality time together. We talked about so many different things. It was like talking to your best friend, mentor, and grandparent all rolled into one. I opened up and shared all that was going on in my life, my fears, struggles, desires, and dreams. She listened. She smiled. She talked. But she didn’t tell me what to do, she just told me stories and shared from her life and how she related and understood. It was so good.
I think about her often and miss being able to see her as much as I did when I was growing up. Writing this reminds me that I need to call her more than I do (Sorry, grandma, I keep saying I will do better at that).
All that to say, my grandma is one of my best friends, my hero, and her relationship with Christ is an inspiration to me always.
So, Grandma, I just want to say THANK YOU and I love you more than words could ever express.