Thursday, November 21, 2013
Thoughtful About . . . Legacies
On Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending my great-grandmother's 100th birthday party. Most of the family was there, including some of her great-nieces and nephews that I've never even met. Everyone, it seemed, wanted to come and celebrate this amazing milestone.
I admit it--I didn't want to leave home so early that day. I was in a writing groove, and Rowyn had been under the weather the day before, and I was afraid he'd crash back into exhausted at the party. I didn't want to prepare a dish, I didn't want to stop writing. But of course, I did. And oh, how glad I was.
Because as I sat in a metal folding chair beside my mother and sister, my kids right in front of me playing with the gourds used as decoration, I listened to the stories everyone told of this woman I've known all my life. And I realized I'm a part of a legacy.
Over and again people told the same stories. The stories of how she loved--and how she loved all, without distinction, without bias, without favoritism.
(Grandma says, "Well, you're all just swell!")
Stories of how Grandma's old house was always an oasis of safety, a place everyone loved so much that we didn't mind imitating sardines on Christmas Eve to get to spend time there.
(Grandma says, "It isn't as big as I remember, is it?")
Stories of how she always, always welcomed each addition to the family, whether through marriage or birth or adoption, with the exact same love and embrace as she had her own children, always remembered each one, always took care that they all received the same consideration.
(Grandma says, tearfully, "Thank you all so much for all your beautiful kids. Welcome to the family.")
And my dad, tears in his eyes, reminded us all of the passage in one of Paul's letters where he says, "Imitate me, as I imitate Christ." To us, Dad said, "We can say 'imitate Grandma, as she imitates Christ.' She has always been a shining example of Jesus's love for us."
I don't know what my legacy will be. I don't know what people will remember me for. I don't know how many would gather to celebrate a milestone with me. I certainly don't know what milestones I'll reach in this life.
But whatever age, whatever place in life, whatever people cross my path, I pray I can share in my grandmother's legacy. I pray that they see even a morsel of her strength and goodness and kindness in me.
I pray, with tears in my eyes, that I can be like Grandma.