Life speaks to us in a thousand voices, sometimes with an ecstasy of great delight and sometimes with a sea of sorrows. It is the sea of sorrows, tossed by a torrential storm that has brought me to this day. About two months ago, the unthinkable happened — my Grandma Thelma passed away. With that time, a part of my heart died, leaving a gaping hole that has yet to be mended. Such loss and pain, I have never felt in my life. For anyone who has lost someone they love, time seems like a paradox. All feelings of normality and routine feel like a distant mirage in a dry, lonely desert. Some might lose the desire to carry on with life, some might feel lost in the pain that rejuvenates daily, and others may be compelled. Why compelled? Such circumstances either sink us to the depths of despair or compel us to glorious action.
I have a hope that this day, my grandma is alive — more alive than ever before. Her eyes are wide open to mysteries of the world and her Creator. She sees the glory of eternity in paradise, and basks in the radiance of the Father. She is in a place with no tears, suffering, disappointment, corruption, or pain. Her body is perfect. Her time is infinite in a place where the worship of God never ends. She is blessed. She is restored. My heart overwhelms with her joy. I cannot comprehend her perfect happiness right now, but I know that at my appointment with death, I will meet my Creator and spend eternity in the same glory. I know that my grandma is in a place beyond the sun, where joy shall never cease and love wraps its arms around you.
Looking back on my Grandma’s life – her dedication to the heavenly calling through our Lord and Saviour, sharing the lovingkindness and grace that carried her all the way home – my heart is overwhelmed by a new reality. Life is short, eternal life is better. What we do for the Kingdom matters more than life itself. Luke 9:24 says, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” She lost her life in the best cause, and didn’t sell out. Consider, it is quite effortless to pledge your heart to something and pull out when things get tough. My grandma dealt with many pains and troubles in her life, as every other person deals with their own kinds. I would vouch to say that her faith withstood the impossible, and she grew in areas that shaped her into the warrior I knew her as. Did she do this on her own? Did she keep the faith because she was determined of mind? The answer would be no. She clung to a heavenly Father that led her home. Her faith was in the Father’s abilities, not her own power. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” He took care of her needs, both physical and spiritual. Although I knew her for a finite, earthly time, I know her life emanated the joy, peace, and love that come only through God’s provision and comfort. Her life was a testament to the great gift that God offers — the forgiveness of sins through the atoning sacrifice of His one and only, perfect and blameless Son that we might be called the righteousness of God and have eternal life through the shed blood of Christ on the cross. We can be reconciled from a broken relationship with God to be with him in glory.
My grandmother lived her life to tell this news. Whether in the checkout line, a clothing store, a party, church, a restaurant, having guests in her home, or anywhere else she could be, she always shared the hope that she had — the hope that we can all have. If I can learn one thing from my grandma, it is to love unconditionally and see people as God would see them so that I might share with them the love of a very great Saviour. With her gain of eternity and my loss of a grandma, I see that love is the greatest thing of all. Love is the only thing that lasts.
I see now, I have been blessed beyond measure. I have realized that my family is the most precious thing that God has given me. Of course, I miss grandma like crazy, but it makes me appreciate, more and more, the time that I have with my other grandparents, my parents, and my siblings. I still can’t fathom that she is gone, but knowing she is with her Sweet Saviour brings me all the happiness in the world. I look at my family through new eyes, seeing that at any day when I kiss them goodbye, it could be the last. I saw in the hospital, during the longest night of my life, my family lost all care for the material matters that distract us in life. As nurses and doctors were fighting like heroes to save my grandma’s life in a room in ICU, my family was of one mind. We were physically down the hall in a waiting room, but our hearts were at the bedside of my grandma, together and feeling love for the same woman that taught us to polka, dress to the nines, use lipstick as blush, stash up dough, wear high heels for every occasion, style hair like a boss, save every bit of everything from everywhere that we’ve ever seen, dedicate our lives to something that matters, leave hate behind us, love like fire, and go out of the world with beautiful memories that light each day.
As we saw her time draw to an end, her medicines empty, her heart beat slow, and her numbers drop, we got to see something else as well. Though her spirit might have already left, we witnessed the close of a chapter in her life and the beginning of a new, eternal one. I suddenly realized how much people matter, and how trivial the rest of life’s pursuits are. We now have many years (hopefully) to look back and see how wonderful her life and testimony for Christ were and still are.
As the old adage goes, we are all just pilgrims passing through. If you died today, what would your family’s memories be? Would your testimony be worthwhile? Would it change anyone’s heart or lead others to Christ? I have the privilege to know that my grandma is in heaven, and I will also be there someday because I am a great sinner and saved by a great Saviour. Life is short, so what we choose here matters. When I die, I want to meet my Creator and know that my choices made him joyful. Yes, we all slip up and make icky decisions or get in sticky situations, but it is the decision to accept forgiveness and strive for a Christ-like lifestyle that makes all the difference. In all reality, my grandma was only human and had her failings and flaws just like everyone else. However, despite those flaws, she remained dedicated to the cause of Christ and kept up the good fight. 1 Timothy 6:12 says, “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” My grandma was compelled to glorious actions in Christ Jesus because she took hold of the eternal life that eventually called her home. Let us love others with all of our strength, push back all things that would keep us shackled in the dark, and make this life glorious.