My grandmother, my mother's mother, passed away last Tuesday morning. She was the first of my four grandparents to leave this world.
Later that afternoon, I sat outside on one of our swings. Sadie was pushing Miriam in the baby swing and Sam was swinging beside me. It was a beautiful day despite our loss. The birds were singing, there was a light breeze, and the afternoon sun shone through the leaves above us. I could even smell honeysuckle sitting there. I wondered if my Grammie, when she was on the verge of 35 years old, ever paused and thought about how maybe one day her on-the-verge-of 35 year old granddaughter might be sitting outside wondering about her at that age. Of course this made me wonder if a granddaughter of mine will one day be sitting on a swing outside with her kids thinking about my passing.
For some reason, thinking of my Grammie as a young-ish adult moved me deeply. She wasn't always my grandmother, of course. She was once a mother of young children who hung her wash out to dry, canned vegetables from her garden, and loved sharing food with friends and family.
To my Grammie, I am sure that life from 35 to 88 went by quickly. We think we have years and years ahead of us. Most of us do, but they are fast years. We fill them up with busyness- usually good busyness. But often pointless. When I'm at the end of my life, if I can see it coming, I'm sure I will have some regrets. Is there any way I can predict those regrets and make adjustments now? Are those nagging thoughts that creep into my mind my way of trying to re-adjust my habits? You know, the twinge of guilt or unsettledness you feel at times when you're doing something you know may not be contributing to the improvement of your life or the lives around you.
Death makes me think about life.
I may never know how my Grammie felt during her last days as she reflected on her life. From my perspective, she lead a stellar life. It's hard to imagine her regretting anything. But, no one is perfect. I imagine she was at peace in the end. Her faith was strong.
Thankfully, faith can move mountains. Even mountains of regret.
I do know that my Grammie believed in God and because of her words, her deeds, and her faith, there is no doubt in my mind that she is basking in her heavenly Father's light and love. She is whole. She is complete. She now prays for this family of ours with new authority and power. And we thought she was our prayer warrior when she was alive.
For those of us who are Christians, the end goal may seem to be heaven. It's a wonderful way to end this life full of joys and sorrows, no doubt. But what is our daily goal? If our entire life was to be lived in one day, what would we do? What if we looked at each day as an entire life? What components would we want to include? Which would take priority? Are we living our lives with those priorities in mind? Would we listen to those nagging thoughts that might actually be from the Holy Spirit?
Or, do we know what we want our lives to be like and then go on and live the way that's convenient, easy, blending into to this world as if we're wearing camouflage?
The thought of my own death doesn't scare me. The thought of squandering my life away does. I want to make my heavenly Father proud. I want Him to call me His good and faithful servant. I want to fall at His feet knowing that while I wasn't perfect, I did my best to live a life of love and service.
But, not only do I want Him to be proud of me, I want Him to feel loved by me. Isn't that what we all want? Who is more worthy of our love and attention?
One day I will run into the arms of my Grammie, hear her voice, look into her eyes and tell her what a Godly inspiration she was for me. Then, I want to turn my heavenly prayers toward earth and the granddaughter of mine that may be sitting on a swing wondering what I was like at almost 35. My prayer for her will be that she doesn't squander her days, but instead live her life to holy fullness.