Sunday, October 23, 2011
The Legacy She Left
Funerals. I'm not so great with the whole idea of a funeral. I'd much prefer for my life to end with a bang- like a huge party in honor of the life I lived- not a group of people all wearing black, crying that I'm gone. I want there to be a rule at my memorial service, that everyone has to wear a bright color. I love to make people smile and somehow I just don't get the feeling that black encourages a great deal of smiling (unless I'm trying on clothes in the fitting room and it's between the white shirt that "fatters" or the black shirt that "flatters"- in which case, the black would definitely encourage a smile. But I digress... yet again.
So yesterday was my grandmother's funeral. I loved how we had several photos at the funeral. Some were of my grandmother by herself, but most of the pictures had my grandmother with my papa. When I got the news a week ago that she had passed away, though it was no surprise, I wept uncontrollably for about 45 minutes. At the end of that 45 minutes, I felt the prayers of my friends as a peace filled me- that peace that you cannot explain... And in my mind, I saw a picture that made me smile. I saw my grandmother reunited with my papa (who had passed away almost nine years ago). And almost as if it were really happening, I saw them dancing, as I had seen so many times growing up.
At the funeral, I shared the stories of my grandparents. I loved their relationship- the way they played, the way they laughed. I loved the way they danced together and always seemed to know what the other was thinking. They truly were soul mates and best friends. They had a love like you don't see a lot these days. Their love was a love refined- a love that has likely been tested through the fire and had come out on the other side, purer and stronger than ever before. When you were around them, you nearly could not help but smile. There was something super natural, something precious about their relationship.
And as I sat listening to some of these stories during the funeral, I couldn't help but think- that kind of love- that's the legacy I want to leave for my children... and their children... That's the kind of friendship and deep relationship I want to have with my husband. That's the kind of love that is so much greater than anything we mere humans can produce on our own. It's the love that comes from God.
During the funeral, I remembered how every morning, my grandmother would wake up and spend time with The Lord. She would read her Bible and spend time in prayer. I didn't always see her doing this, but I always saw fruit- the kind that cannot be produced in your own strength. The fruit that comes from knowing God intimately. She loved my grandfather- not in her own strength- but with the love that overflowed out of her relationship with the Lord (which was so much greater than any love she could ever have given my papa on her own). She was wise and gracious and patient. She was kind and gentle and so very good. She was a woman after God's own heart and she was a blessing to so many.
After the testimonies about my grandmother, her pastor read from Proverbs 31 and the scripture perfectly described my grandmother. Tears came to my eyes as I listened to him speak truth after truth about this precious woman that we had all been so blessed to know. And so I left the funeral filled with joy as I thought about my grandmother's wonderful life, fruit, and love- God's love...
I'll miss you here on Earth, Grandmother, but I look forward to dancing with you (and Papa) in Heaven. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me- and for loving me unconditionally. But most of all, thank you for setting the standard in your 50+ years of marriage to Papa- showing us what it looks like to live a life fully surrendered to God. I feel honored to have known you and blessed to have shared in the joy of your life. You were truly THE quintessential Proverbs 31 woman and I hope to one day share in your legacy. I love you... oh, so much. Learning to live like you did...
No Longer I,
The real life mom... and grand daughter.