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Saying Goodbye

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Today we buried my grandma. She had begun the descent into Alzheimer’s so this was a real mercy for her, but it has been very hard on many of us who have depended on her presence for so long. Today was the definition of chaos–waking up with a sinus infection; lunch that runs late and makes us almost late for the funeral; almost getting left behind at the funeral home by the funeral procession; and the pastor’s mother passing away as he performed the service. My heart breaks for him as well today.

In the midst of all of this, in the midst of the grief and the pain, the confusion and even some anger, I stop and remember my grandmother. She was a textbook example of finding joy right where you are. Of being content with what you have. Of not chasing after the shiny things of this world to bring you happiness. She helped raise me, and I have often said that I want to be like her when I grow up. By the world’s standards she had very little in this world. Yet she was one of the happiest, most content people I know. She needed nothing more than her husband by her side, her family around her, and a good garden full of flowers to be happy. She lived a life that exemplified true biblical wisdom about happiness. She lived her faith openly, loving everyone she met and sharing her faith with them. At about age sixty she took to computers, learning how to use card-creating software. Every person she knew received a custom made card for every birthday, anniversary and holiday. She did this for the entire family and her entire church as well. No two cards were ever alike. They were often cheesy and not to Hallmark’s standards, but every word was carefully chosen just for you and laced with her own personal love. They were wonderful gifts that I will treasure forever. Grandma saw these cards as her personal ministry, a way to take the talents and resources she had been given to share God’s love with people. That my friends, is what ministry is truly about. I didn’t learn it in any class or seminar–I learned it at my grandmother’s knee. Ministry is about the small things, the hidden ones that seem not to be a big deal. But in the end, they make a huge difference.

Grandma, I love you. I know you are dancing and singing with Jesus today. I know you have the answers to the questions that plague me so often, and for that, I am a little jealous. One last time, as you taught me when I was just a little girl, this is for you:

This is the day, This is the day,
That the Lord has made, That the Lord has made
I will rejoice, I will rejoice
and be glad in it, and be glad in it.
This is the day that Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made.

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