My mother’s mother is one of God’s silent heroes. I use the present term, even if she has been gone for years now. I am sure she is cheering me on, up in the bleachers, as Paul says those who are dead do. Eagerly watching to see if we have the support we need, if we are staying the course, if we have heeded the warnings and stored the loving advice they gave us through their lives.
She used to be timid, just as me, able to conjure the worst catastrophes, not always trusting her own abilities. Yet always doing what she thought was right, with a serving and loving heart.
Then one summer morning our world was shattered. My aunt and her husband had been stabbed to death by their neighbor.
I will not write about the anguish and pain, the grief and the fear. Months went by, the shadows of that day adding darkness to the other tragedies we had lived through as a family.
I thought my grandmother would never be able to straighten her back after that blow. She kept praying, serving and believing though.
I had to ask her: Why? How are you able to live?
She stopped knitting, but she did not answer at once. Then she looked at me, her voice still quiet, her eyes glowing strong.
” The worst has happened, after this nothing can frighten me. The worst has happened and God carried me through even that. That gives me courage to face my days, and to know that the small tasks he reminds me to do is important.”
I have seen illness, evil, death and sorrow afflict my own family. I have listened to patients,clients and victims of evil hurt by violence, illness, shock, grief and death. I do not need to be reminded of the scary, terrible facts and deeds of life. I do need to be inspired by everyone who keeps believing in beauty and love. I do need to share joy and laughter to pick up strength to keep striving for justice and a good life.
I need to stock up on beauty, truth and love to take me trough whatever fears I still will need to face in my life.
To do that I heed another advice Paul gave the Philippians : Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
That’s a lot, and enough for me!