Last week i went to see my Grandmother (my dad's mom) for her nninetieth birthday. I love this woman. To begin with, she is, and always has been a fireball. She is one of those people that you have to force to sit still; she is always going and doing. In recent years her circumstances have slowed her down, yet her characteristic optimism and energy has never left. She still drives (better than some adults in their "prime" ;) and aside from the toll that the years have taken on her hearing and eyesight, she is in remarkably good health.
She grew up hard. After her mother died, her father married again and essentially abandoned her when she was 14. She had to quit school to support herself but she is one of the smartest women I know. She worked hard cleaning and cooking for neighbors until she married at a young age. Though my grandfather undoubtedly loved her, her he perhaps didn't know how to best show her true love (especially in their early years). She was not a "doormat" in any respect (though many today would say that she was).She was determined to drive and taught herself after she was married with children,surprising her husband one evening with her license. From accounts I have heard she kept him in line, though no one remembers her acting out of spite or anger towards him. She retained her self-respect, had definite opinions and didn't "cow-tow" to anyone, but she didn't demand her own rights. She faithfully served her husband and children, because, "what else would you do?" To her, loving God and loving others was and is her life. The family recalls huge Sunday lunches that she would spend hours (joyfully) preparing. She rarely missed church and has always kept herself immaculate, though she is certainly not afraid to get her hands dirty. She maintained a garden for many many years and there is nothing she loves better than working with plants and soil. She has maintained a zest for life. She absolutely loves living. Though she has certainly had her times of feeling down and perhaps had a pity party or two (like the rest of us) she has always been "others focused".I don't think she has ever held a grudge (though she certainly had occasion!) She doesn't demand attention; she takes what is given and loves unconditionally.She just thinks life is too short to do anything but love one another. Some would call her view of life and people simplistic and old fashioned. Yet there is more joy to be seen in her spirit than many people today who are socially and politically "correct". She is an unselfish and caring individual and I am beyond blessed to have her as my "mamaw". If, by God's grace, I become half the woman that she is, I will be grateful. She will do anything for anyone and you will never feel unloved in her presence. She has succeeded in making her family and all those with whom she has come in contact feel loved, un-judged and special. As followers of Christ, are we really called to anything else than to "love God and love people"? Her life is a lesson in the joy of a forgiving, grace-full and sacrificing spirit.
I love you, Mamaw .