Friday, March 11, 2005

Weekly Word for March 11 - 18, 2005

Weekly Word - March 11, 2005

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.
(Galatians 5:22)

Sometimes we get to see just a “glimmer” of who a person is - - - and sometimes we get to know their hearts and souls in a way that changes us forever . . .

The table was covered with pictures, of family and friends - smiling and laughing - preserving that moment in time forever. But one picture in particular drew my attention. It was of a young mother holding her baby. Her eyes told of such happiness - as she looked at the man behind the camera - her husband - my grandfather! It was a picture of my grandmother - my “Nana” - as we called her. She was holding her first baby - the little girl who would grow up to be my mother. Nana was always thin and small, and in the long dresses that were worn back in the early 30’s - she looked even smaller! Her dark hair was the same color as her baby’s hair - both shining in the sunlight - as she proudly showed her baby to the camera.

Holding that picture, I started to think back to who my “Nana” was - and the story of a life - that has since left this earth.

I knew my Nana and Grandpa as the people who came to visit us on special days - birthdays, Christmas, and Thanksgiving. They lived in the next town over - and we would visit there once in a while. As children, we loved to play at Nana’s house. She had this wonderful plastic table cloth - that was made just for us kids to color on. And her attic . . . Well that was the most wonderful place to play in! Especially for a little girl who loved to play house. Up in that attic, there were “real” baby things - crib, high chair, clothes - just a treasure of wonderful things to play with. It was here that I would spend my days - never wanting to leave - in my own imaginary world . . .

It wasn’t until I was older, that I wondered about all the baby furniture - and why it would be up there. After all, my mother was an only child . . .

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another . . . Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, . . .
(Romans 12: 10 & 12)

I was 14 when my grandfather died. He and my Nana had retired to Cape Cod only three years earlier - and on that particular week-end - we were all there to visit. He had been helping out at the local church, and he had come home for lunch. As he sat in the rocking chair - he looked so tired as my mother put a band-aid on the cut on his head. That moment is the last time I saw my grandfather - he died later that day - still helping at church. After the funeral, my mother decided that I could spend the summer living with my Nana - helping her so she wouldn’t be “alone”.

I have to admit, at first I wasn’t “happy” about the decision. I pleaded and begged for my mother to change her mind. After all - I had just begun a “life” at home - getting a part time job at the library - noticing boys from my home town! But my mother won out - and soon I was living with my Nana at the cape. It wasn’t very long though, before I was hearing her stories - and understanding a little bit more about this woman - who became so special to me . . .

Tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance - proven character; and proven character - hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
(Romans 5: 4 & 5)

I always thought that my grandmother was an only child - until she told me about her little sister. Nana was 10 years old - when her little sister was outside playing. Her sister was only 5 - and she was playing on the side of the street. Nana told me how pretty her sister was - and healthy - until the next day when she got so very sick. Her grandmother knew medicine - and came to help - but her sister died anyways. Nana always wondered why it was that she had lived through the same sickness that took her little sister’s life. I have to admit - I don’t know why - but am so glad she did!

It wasn’t too long after Nana’s sister died - that her mother died. She was only 14 when her father started dating a lady that Nana didn’t like very much. When her father married the lady, Nana was told to leave the house - and she moved in with her grandmother. As Nana told me this story - I could hear the hurt in her voice as she told me about having to leave all her furniture - everything that was hers - she lost. So it wasn’t a surprise that when Nana fell in love - she and my grandfather (“Red” as everyone called him) eloped! They took two friends, and ran away to get married. Red and Grace (my Nana) were married in just their everyday clothes - in a simple five minute ceremony. The ring my grandpa gave Nana was small - having belonged to his own mother - with two little diamond chips he added on both sides. This is the ring that she loved the most - - - even after he gave her the “big” diamond years later!

Nana wanted babies - she wanted them so badly! But it wasn’t going to be easy for her. She lost quite a few - and started to believe that she wouldn’t be able to carry a baby. But her love of children was huge - and soon she took in foster kids. She took care of children that no one seemed to want- but her. And then she had my mother. Finally - a baby to hold! When I look at the picture - I see her happiness - her joy - at that little baby who was all hers.

Alice (my mother) wasn’t the only baby that Nana gave birth to! There were a few more miscarriages after my mother was born - and then she had “Baby Arthur”. Baby Arthur was born blue - with the chord wrapped tightly around his neck. When she took him home - she knew that he wasn’t like other babies. He was always sick, always having trouble breathing. In the two years he lived, he never learned to walk - or even to sit up alone. But Nana loved him! When she told me about the day he died - I could still feel her love for him - and her grief. She told me how he stopped breathing - and the doctor was called to the house. But he couldn’t do anything to save him. So then the undertaker was called. This was a man that they knew through their church - and so he came to the house to get the little boy who had just died. “When he came into the house - he didn’t bring a box or casket to take him away in - he just wrapped him up in a blanket - and carried him to the car” she told me. The love she felt for that baby was still as strong - so many years later . . .

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
(Mathew 5: 4)

She never had another child. Not because she didn’t love - but it just wasn’t to be. Soon after baby Arthur died - she had to have surgery - and never again would she be able to have a child. I asked her why she and grandpa never adopted - and she told me how wonderful a man my grandfather was - good and kind - loving and caring. But even though he cared for those other children - he wanted his babies to be his own. And so . . . My mother became an “only child”.

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
(Mathew 5: 5 & 6)

Nana and I could talk about anything and everything - and we did. We talked about love and about hurts. She taught me about faith and trust in God, through the good times and the bad times. After that summer, it was to her that I would go with my troubles or fears. She always listened -always had a word of encouragement and hope.

When I think about my grandmother, I think about a person who had a gentle strength - she was quiet and understanding. She was always willing to listen - and to help. Her faith was unshakable - and it helped her through the toughest of times. She was someone I wanted to be like. She determined to stay in her home on the Cape. And so she lived there for another 25 years - alone - after my grandfather died. But it is that one summer - living there with her - that changed who I am forever! Her life and stories are the legacy she gave to me.

In purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love . . .
(2 Corinthians 6: 6)

Many will pass on from this earth leaving money and possessions behind for their children and grandchildren. But those with hearts that know how to love - to give - they pass on even more - - - they pass on faith and love. It is their legacy that changes lives forever. When I look at my own grandbabies - it is my hope that I will be able to give them some of what my grandmother gave to me - her faith and trust in God - her ability to love - her stories of living life . . .

What is your legacy? What will you give to those you love? It is my hope that you will have a faith and love - that endures - forever . . .

Love - bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things . . . Love never fails;
(1 Corinthians 13: 7 & 8)

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


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