"Too bad everyone is not perfect like you."
I still remember hearing those words and as I've grown up I've said them as well. Whenever Grandma heard someone talking negatively about someone else or bringing them down this is what she'd say. And it didn't matter who was speaking, she stood up for the one who wasn't there.
As I've reflected on my grandma this past week in the midst of her passing this is one of the lessons I want to hold onto. For a couple different reasons - 1) we all have faults and it does no good to bring someone else down and 2) Grandma set a great example by speaking up, something I'm afraid to do at times. She never had to say anything more, these words alone altered the conversation and always left me feeling convicted. Even at times when I wasn't the one who gave her reason to say it. We are guilty just by taking part in these conversations as our willingness to listen gives the other person permission to talk.
"You can't win them all."
As a high schooler basketball was my life and though my grandma didn't see any games, she kept track of my schedule and often called for reports. When I'd share about a loss, usually in a depressing tone I'm sure, she'd simply remind me that someone has to win and someone has to lose. At the time I probably didn't appreciate the remark that much, but 15 years later those conversations are coming back and giving me a better picture of who my grandma was.
She was a very content woman - she had survived the depression and knew losing a game really wasn't that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. With Thanksgiving just a few days a way, I realize she didn't wait for a special day in November to be thankful - she always was. And she tried to teach me to do the same - as our game talks would continue she'd remind me that I had the opportunity to play, she never did; I didn't get hurt, so I'd play again and on and on. Like I said back then I didn't appreciate the words very much, but I'm grateful God has reminded me of a bit of the wisdom Grandma shared - it's true you can learn from a loss. And God does work good from bad, sometimes it simply takes 15 years!
Growing up we didn't pray before meals as family, but you never went to Grandma's house without bowing your head before a meal. Again as I reflect on her life I realize she was a real woman of faith and this routine was part of it and a way she could share that faith with others.
We sat in her room in the rest home the day before she passed away watching her breathing change and sharing stories about the life she lived. My dad, the youngest of her six children, shared how he asked her if she ever worried. She replied, "No." And as he thought of some of the things he had done, he suggested, "Well, maybe you should have." My sister responded, "Dad, she may have never worried, but I'm sure she prayed every minute you were gone."
This is something my dad has observed in my grandma because he had shared this story with me recently and commented that I was like her. As we both thought and trusted that God will take care of things. I wish I could say I never worry, but I'm thankful he sees that similarity. As far as I can tell Grandma lived a peaceful 98 years. Were they easy no - she's lost her husband, a son, a grandson, all of her siblings, lived thru the depression - it was a life of ups and downs just like the rest of us, but she treated others the way she wanted to be treated, was content regardless of the circumstances and prayed about all things. God blessed her and now because of her faith she is with Him know.
I will remember many of the things Grandma said including her final words to me about 2 weeks before she passed away. I was there for a visit and we talked about the usual - what I been doing, how the kids grow so fast, my dad and his sheep, and if it was cold out. Then as I kissed her good-bye, she looked at me and said, "You're a good girl. You take care now."
Grandma wasn't just a good girl, she was a Godly one as well and I pray as I remember things she said I will become one too.