Updated: May 14, 2020
"When I must leave you For a little while - Please do not grieve And shed wild tears And hug your sorrow to you Through the years, But start out bravely With a galant smile; And for my sake and In my name live on And do all things the same, Feed not your loneliness On empty days, But fill each waking hour In useful ways, Reach out your hand In comfort and in cheer And I in turn will comfort you And hold you near; And never, never Be afraid to die, For I am waiting for you in the sky!" ~ Helen Steiner Rice
She loved poetry, so it seemed only right to begin with a poem. But, she loved her God, too... with absolute abandon. If you've followed this page for a time, it's likely you know the origin story to some extent. Just in case you don't, I'll simply say, it grew out of the united devotion of three women, three generations... one, who has gone before, and one who this day is no more... in an earthly sense at least. Leaving, just me. But I am reminded, a three strand cord (especially one of that nature) is not easily broken.
Early this morning, April 3rd in the year of our Lord 2020, my grandmother Gloria danced into the open arms of her Savior.
For that we rejoice of course, yet still we mourn the void that remains. For almost seven years, my mother, grandmother, and I did a daily transcontinental Bible study. For three and a half years after my mother passed away, Gram and I continued... up through two nights ago. That, my friends, is a solid decade of the women who came before me sowing their love and faith and legacy into me... each of us into each other, and by extension, into you. Because that is where this all came from and that is why we're here. The other day, I came across a verse I didn't remember seeing before...
"I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother (Gloria) and in your mother (Suzanne) and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." ~ 2 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)
... and I thought, what a sweet sweet Father, that He would save that for me for today. She was a tattoo sportin'...
(Something she saved for 83 or so, she was so proud of the monarch butterfly she chose to represent being the matriarch of her family.)
(I'm pretty sure this only happened once in her whole life, but she got right down on the ground and wielded my brother's rifle at the age of 88. She shot the branch right off of the tree... next to the target.)
Roller coaster ridin'...
(For her eighty-somethingth birthday, she asked me to take her to the Mall of America so she could go for a ride.) Speed boat tubin'...
(With my mother at high speed, also in her 80's.)
God fearin'... (Always, in all ways. To the Holy Land with my grandfather and back... repeatedly.) Church goin' beauty, with the servant heart of a seeker of Truth... and so much more.
She was my Gram.
Almost a year ago, we were talking while I was visiting and I asked her if she was cozy... "Am I crazy?" "No, cozy! Are you comfortable?" "Oh! Yes. But, at my age I'm a little crazy, too." She was a powerhouse. A real firecracker. Authentic and loving to the core, and I have been blessed to come of age and live this life in her glow. This post has been a bit of a long and winding road, and I hope you don't mind. There's no way I could ever say everything I would want to say about my grandmother, so I guess we just touched on a little bit here and there. All of it to simply share with you, that glorious Gloria has gone on to glory. Now, it's my job to bring the legacy of all of that love and Light and sowing to you, that their legacy may live on. Your prayers are deeply appreciated. The mantle of responsibility is great. But, as my mother used to say, we endeavor to kneel before Him when our time has come and hear those sweet words, "Well done, good and faithful servant." I truly believe those same words are still ringing in her ears. Both of them, come to think of it.
A dear dear friend who was actually my youth group leader in high school sent me a message today.
In it, she shared that in prayer, she had seen the mantle of responsibility that had settled upon me become arms around me, loving, supporting, encouraging, guiding. What if we could all have that experience, of the mantle He has put upon us being His loving arms enfolding us? After all, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
"A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken" ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT)
"For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." ~ Matthew 11:30 (NLT)
"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your master!" ~ Matthew 25:23 (BLB)
"I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised... and we will be changed... 'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' ... Thanks be to God!" ~ 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 (NIV - excerpts)
Thank you all, for helping me to keep her legacy alive!
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.