I’m standing in her farm-house kitchen minding the chicken pot pie in the oven, with her seated across from me in her chair by the window. She’s our Grandma on my husband’s side of the family. She is recovering from recently taking a bad spill in her raspberry patch. Her arm is bandaged, yet her determination is as strong as ever. I remarked at her grit and strength.
“I know everyone thinks I’m tough, but I’m kind of a chicken!”, she giggles.
She continues, “I told our Sunday School class, that I’ve really never gone through anything hard, and so I’m a big chicken when it comes to painful things!”
I stood up straight and tilted my head in utter bewilderment. Was she being serious?
“Seriously, Grandma? You have been through so many hard things in your lifetime!”, I insist.
Her response, “Well, yes, I’ve gone through things that were hard, but I just never let it get me too far down.” “It takes a lot of hard work to get back up and keep going, but it’s just what I’ve had to do.”
These words coming from her did not surprise me. This is who our family and her friends know her to be.
She identifies the problem, and sets out to find a solution. It may not be easy, but it needs to be done, so you do it.
Two weeks later, I’m still thinking about her, and compiling a list of the things I know she’s been through (I’m certain there’s more):
She lost a little sister to a freak accident, when Ruthie was only four.
She lost a child with Down Syndrome to Leukemia. Roanna was only two.
She had a grown son suffer a farming accident and lose most of one hand.
She’s walked with several family members through serious illness and death.
She’s lost a daughter-in-law, who died suddenly from heart issues.
She’s stood strong by her man, when they nearly lost everything they had ever worked for.
She is currently standing strong by her man, after his recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.
She would say, that’s just what she had to do. She would say she didn’t have any other option, but to get back up and keep going.
I’m not raising her up on a pedestal, listing her perfections. She’s human and she’d be the first to list her imperfections.
I’m honoring her for showing me how to live all the way into old age, with a strength that doesn’t flop over in despair at the slightest gust of wind. With a determination that says, “I can get up and keep going even though life is painful right now!”
With a grace that says, “We’ll face this trial and when the dust settles I’ll still be here.”
God knew that I needed her example in my life. Her influence on the following-after generations of our family is significant.
In a world where checking-out is getting easier, I’m needing the reminder that every hard thing I’ve ever faced, has simply equipped me for the next hard thing to come, and that I can get up and keep going.
Being privileged to be her granddaughter in law, married to her first and much-loved grandson, I have watched her place her hand firmly into the hand of God, and with a willingness that was unshakable, walk out a life of sacrifice and surrender.
I’m getting in line behind her and with Jesus, to walk this one life out with determination. Maybe someday my grands will use words like grit and grace to describe me. I can hope.
(Grandpa Leroy & Grandma Helen Seward, 2015)