She’s old. But to me she’s always been old. She’s my grandma.
But she’s not like I remember her. You see, it’s been a long time since I’ve lived close enough to see her. And, in that time, she’s changed. Skin mottled and veined; hair wispy and gray; features hollowed by time and stark-shaped by years. Sitting – that’s maybe the most peculiar characteristic of her life now; my grandmother rarely sat unless she was eating a meal. Work was her pastime and joy. Working in her garden, in her kitchen, on her sewing machine, for her family, for the Lord. But now she sits. Age has taken work from her. It has robbed her of so much already – youth, beauty, vision, mobility, husband, sons. The energy and ability to work was just another domino toppled in the swift rampage of time.
But it has not yet taken her from me. And so I sat today and talked with a woman who has been so much, endured so much, given so much. I sat and marveled at her fragility and leaned into this precious time with my living history. It wasn’t a conversation of magnitude, at least not to anyone else. Just a chat about family and gardens, ordinary stuff. But it was a connection between generations, one of those rare moments when the clock slows and you wonder later if even your heartbeat was a sacrilege.
We had prayer before I left. Age hasn’t take that from her either. She was right with me, breathing her own petitions along with mine. And she still has a bright look in her eyes when she says “It won’t be long until I’ll be home with the Lord.”
But I hope that’s still a ways off. And I told her that. “I want to keep you here for a while longer, Grandma.” She smiled and said yes, she’d stay for a while. Maybe God will let me have my wish.
But she’s extraordinary, my grandma. She reminds me of pioneer women – capable and determined as a young filly, lovely as a prairie wildflower. For, in her younger days, my grandma was a beauty with her trim figure, dark curls, high cheekbones and snapping eyes. And she has always known how to do what must be done even if it’s inconvenient and regardless of whether it’s fun. Her life has been marked by tackling the hard things, doing the stressful, back-breaking, heart-wrenching, painful stuff and never giving up. So she will face dying the way she’s faced living – face forward, chin up, back straight, faith intact, trust in Jesus. That’s the way she is handling her days now too. Because of that, she’s amazingly inspiring and still beautiful, contained by this dismal earth only as God allows. And I really hope that’s a lot longer. I have a lot more to learn from her. And a lot more time just to spend being with her. Thank you, Grandma, for being you. I love you.