My Granny was one of my greatest spiritual mentors. It was not until she had a stroke and could no longer walk or talk that many of the words that she had spoken to me over and over throughout my life finally really sunk into me. It was like all of her teaching time was over, and the lessons were finally transferred to me, and I began saying the words back to her….reminding her of her own lessons as she suffered greatly at the end of her life. It was beautiful and sad at the same time.
“I finally get it Granny, and now we cannot talk about it together. You can no longer speak, and I am speaking your words back into you.”
But the good news is that although she is no longer with us I did finally get it, and she has left a legacy of spiritual wisdom here on earth.
Granny had many flaws and issues. She was far from perfect, but she lived a long life of fearless faith. She showed me the power of the Holy Spirit in a surrendered and humble human being. She never made a spectacle of herself when the spirit moved her. It was not for show with her. It was reality.
She taught me far too many things to mention in one short post, but a few small examples come to mind.
She taught me about the power of spoken words to create in our lives through faith or in fear. It is our choice.
She taught me that prayer works.
Everyone used to call her and say, “Will you pray for me about such and such because your prayers work.” She would always firmly tell me, “Your prayers work too! But, yes, I will agree with you in prayer of course.”
I will never forget walking into her bedroom as a little child crying with unbearable pain in my feet…..an odd ailment that tormented me many a night in my childhood. She whisked me upon the bed with Papa and her, grabbed my feet and began praying out loud for healing. She even commanded the devil to leave my feet alone which I thought was very strange even as a child…..but to my astonishment it worked! My feet instantly stopped hurting, and that had never happened before. It was a lesson in faith that bewildered me but that I also never forgot.
I sometimes quietly told myself that she was really an angel in disguise on earth. She had learned over her long life the art of keeping a gentle tone in her voice when dealing with us kids, and her hair was even snow-white which fit the angel persona in my childhood mind.
Although she was quite the Alpha woman, a leader, a mover and a shaker….she was also gentle and compassionate in her approach…..a delicate balance of power and humility.
Even her death seemed divinely orchestrated. She passed away quietly in her sleep early one Thanksgiving morning when the family was already gathered in from out of town for Thanksgiving Day. And it seems fitting that she would leave us with one last message just by passing on that day…..Be grateful for all of life, but do not fear death for it is also a part of life.
Last year when my family suffered two horrible losses…..the death of a baby and the sudden death of a beloved young uncle…..my mom found a copy of a prayer tucked away in my grandmother’s keepsakes. We read it at our private outdoor memorial. It seemed like Granny’s contribution to us during this difficult time. It must have been a prayer that she kept close to her heart, and it is a prayer that I hope to live by every day. I will close with the prayer:
Keep us O God from pettiness: let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault finding, and leave off self-seeking. May we put away all pretense and meet each other face to face without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgment and always generous.
Let us take time for all things: make us to grow calm, serene, gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses, straight forward, and unafraid. Grant that we realize it is the little things that create differences and that in the big things of life we are as one.
And may we strive to touch and know the great common human heart of us all, and O God, let us forget not to be kind. Amen