Thursday, September 5, 2013

My grandmother

My grandmother did not star in any movies. She never ran for public office, and she didn't invent a medicine or cure any diseases. Some people would say this means she didn't change the world while she was here. I would say there's more than one way to change the world.

Jean Golden raised four children-with varying degrees of success. She raised me, and had a hand in raising all of her grandchildren. She experienced so many joys, and her share of heartbreaks, and a world that was changing so fast it could make you dizzy. Through it all, her missions in life were clear: love and serve. Have a good attitude. Never act ugly.

I learned so much from my grandmother. She showed me how to be a good and true friend, and her friendships were treasures she valued dearly. She ingrained in me not just the importance of family, but the absolute necessity of it. I was well into adulthood before I realized that not everyone hung out with their great aunts and uncles and third cousins twice removed like I did. From her, I learned that we should serve others in whatever capacity we are able. She volunteered at blood drives, worked election polls, and made a point to visit elderly acquaintances. She went door to door in our neighborhood collecting donations for cystic fibrosis research. Hospitality was her gift, and the best way to ruin her day was to not let her take care of you. Nothing delighted her more than a knock at the door from someone who wanted to sit in one of her bar stools and visit. Most importantly, she taught me to love Christ, and that living for Him is the only true way to have joy and peace in this life.

 Another of my grandmother's greatest gifts was her wit, and her ability to laugh at herself. She simply was not capable of driving through Memphis without getting lost, and built extra time into her trips to account for the accidental detours. She had a fair amount of self control, but that went out the window the moment she stepped into a dollar store, or saw anything for purchase with a magnolia on it. Expiration dates on milk were only suggestions to her. She never-- ever once in her life--threw away one of those twist ties that held a bread bag closed. Her answer to everyone's needs was a banana pudding, and most of the time it was the right answer.

My respect for my grandmother grows all the time. Now as a wife and mother, I'm honestly astonished that she baked cakes and mowed the yard, sewed her own clothes and hung up the Christmas lights. She handled everything life required of her with enormous grace. Amazingly, even Alzheimer's disease wasn't able to steal her spirit. Until the very end, my grandmother was kind and joyful at all times.

We can't all change the world. But every time we speak, every time we act, we change the lives of the people around us. My grandmother has challenged me to be a more patient, thoughtful, selfless person. She loved us all so much, and we are all forever changed for the better because of her.  And in small ways, every single day, she showed everyone around her what God's love looks like when it takes on the form of a woman and goes walking around on earth.


P2 Family said...

This is q beautiful tribute to her. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Why dont you write more often?