Thursday, March 21, 2013

Truth...

Crazy, crazy schedule lately. I just came across this quote and wanted to share it, though.



Whence comes this idea that if what we are doing is fun, it can't be God's will?  The God who made giraffes, a baby's fingernails, a puppy's tail, a crooknecked squash, the bobwhite's call, and a young girl's giggle, has a sense of humor.  Make no mistake about that.

                                                                                                   ---Catherine Marshall

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Thelma

When we first met, she was about the age that I am now. It has been a while.

I remember going to her house. She always lived on country roads that seemed to take forever to get to. We knew to be sure and use the bathroom at the last gas station as we left the interstate, because otherwise we were likely to get red bug bites in unfortunate places if we had to stop on the side of the road.

They would always be waiting on the porch, she and Elmer, and would be at the car before we could even get the doors open--smiling and hugging us and oh, so happy we were there.

She would always want us to eat--sandwiches or chicken. Cornbread or cake. Whatever it was she had at the time, which usually was not very much. And, to be honest, if she cooked it, it usually was not very good.  She seemed to know how to cook on two temperatures--off, or full blast. But you had better believe that we ate it. In her house, food was ALWAYS seen as a provision and a blessing, and many times obtained as an answer to their prayers. It was a lesson I learned early and often at her house.

And this woman loved Jesus. Oh, my goodness how she loved Jesus. She knew Him, and knew the things He said, and sang songs to and about Him. It was through her and Elmer's life and example that I learned about what true faith looks like, and I was one that never missed a Sunday in my own church. I learned that loving God is no guarantee of an easy or prosperous life. Little House on the Prairie taught me that, too, but if it were not for them, I might have thought that was just a TV show and not necessarily how God works. I might have grown up thinking that living for God guarantees money or health or status. I might even wonder how God is truly loving if my son could be sick or possibly even die too early in a way I cannot control or stop. That definitely happened to her. Not once, but twice, yet her faith never wavered. Seriously, that is how she was.

Her birthday was the day after mine, and she would always call or send a card, saying she could always remember my birthday since it was so close to hers.

I will never forget when they met Harrison for the first time. It was the same house, with the same plastic pineapple jug of water in the fridge, and the same really cool lava lamp with Jesus in the middle and naked angels covered with duct tape for clothing. She would not throw anything Jesus-y away.

Not too long afterwards, Elmer got sick and needed more care than she could give him at home, so she moved into the nursing home with him. After he died, she stayed on in the nursing home, eventually needing more care herself. Her room was full of pictures and color and flowers (but no lava lamp). It was here she met Travis and John. It was from here that she would call me or where I would call her. Our calls were never very long (paying that long distance by the minute back then), but they were always happy and sweet.

After Elmer died, she was very specific about how she wanted her funeral to be. She said she was not too particular, but she wanted my husband to do the speaking "in front of the casket", without her being between him and her family. She also wanted me to sing 'Beulah Land'. So, my mom tracked down the cassette tape for me to have 'for one day'.

I tried to learn it. I really did. Then, I realized there would be no way I could ever get through that song at her funeral. I could not even get through it in my bathroom without crying, just imagining her not being here anymore. So, the next time I went to see her, I told her that I was so sorry, but I could not do it. She just smiled and patted my hand and said that was OK, but she would like to at least have that song played, and I told her I could make sure that happened.

Then I told her how incredibly special she was to me, and how I credit my faith to her influence. I explained how I am not a worrier about things I cannot control, and that I credit that to her example.  I thanked her for her countless prayers for me and my family, and have no doubt that she clocked in more hours for me to God than anyone else in my life ever has or will. I told her that I wanted her to hear those things from me on this side of Heaven--and I am so glad that she did.

Eventually, she lost much of her health, and much of her memory, and she no longer knew who I was.  I stopped getting calls, and she stopped knowing how to answer mine. However, she never lost her faith, or her smile, or her dignity. And today, she left to go meet that Jesus she loved so much face to face, along with Elmer. And James and Fred. And Chris and Candy and Sandy. And so many others that were just waiting to see her again.

One day, I'll see my grandmother again, just waiting on the porch for me to drive/fly up.

And just maybe, there will be some cornbread waiting for me again. I will not even mind if it is burnt.