Pictured here, she's standing at the wood cookstove outside. It's propped up on cinderblocks. It is summer time. By the time I post this photo to my blog, Grandma will probably fade into obscurity behind this brightly colored Blue-willow china cup of coffee. Obscurity--much like my memories of her.
I was just thirteen when she died. She was the first person in my life that I saw dead in a casket. The first cold body I touched and found wooden beneath my fingertips. Forever etched in my mind is how I felt at the moment I touched what I thought would be her soft wrinkled hand.
No longer would she make fried chicken and white gravy on Sunday afternoons. No longer would I see her canning fresh peaches or succulent tomatoes on this old cookstove outside the screened-in front porch. No longer would I watch her hands in motion as she crocheted a lace scarf for the dresser in the guest room. Grandma was gone. Dead. Where did she go? I wondered. No one told me comforting thoughts like, "she's in Heaven with God or she's now an angel watching over you". Nope. Grandma was simply gone. The only way I'd ever be able to see her again was by looking at pictures of the past. The way we'd remember her was by going to the cemetery and laying out flowers at her grave.
Years ago, my dad made up an 8 X 10 black and white photograph of Grandma. It's the one pictured here. She had two daughters and five sons. All her sons joined the Navy and served during World War II. Her youngest, Daniel, was blown off his ship by a Japanese suicide bomber. There is my greatest connection with Grandma.
I never realized Grandma grieved. I was so busy laughing, playing hide and seek in the woodsheds, picking strawberries in the patches out back, or eating beechnuts off the ground. Grandma lost her youngest child, a son. Years after Grandma lost her son, my Daddy lost his oldest son, Daniel--named after my uncle. Odd how the ties that bind us can often be painful, but also sweet memories. I never knew my uncle. But now I can recall the memory of him etched on my dear grandmother's face. Years and years later, I would lose my first born son, Paul, named after my dad. Then over forty years later, I would lose my youngest child, a man of thirty-three years.
Loss. Loss can bind.
As we move into the future, I find we as Christians are bound by many losses. The loss of virtue to society's whims. The loss of sin's blackness to society's brushstrokes of tolerance and acceptance. The loss of integrity to the rungs of positional posturing. The loss of dignity to the exploits of greed. The loss of humility to the towers of pride. The loss of our laws to the impotency of just courts. The loss of our liberty to the enslavement of some's freedoms. The loss of life to the choices of others. The loss of innocence to perverted predators.
So many losses. Losses that bind. Gains that separate. If for not the Blood-Tie Who binds us, we'd be left drifting in a perpetual blazing abyss without Water to quench our thirst, and our only companion? A worm that dieth not but feeding off the souls of our hearts. Praise God for His perfect Attonement for our depraved indifference to His precepts, His will and His gifts of love. SelahV [copyrighted,selahVtoday,2007]