Saturday, June 6, 2015

What Grandma D Taught Me in 5 Minutes

I love the way God times everything. There are times I have no idea why He is carrying out a circumstance the way He is, or why He let's things happen. There are those that say "If God is so good why do bad things happen?" and I have a little testimony for that.

Yes, maybe I haven't had a really hard life or experienced something as a child that is hard to grasp. Maybe I seem a little too cheery for my own good. What you cannot do is judge that life has always been easy for me. You cannot look at a person and think, "they have it all" or "they have it good." In the same way you cannot tell God that He is not good because bad things happen.

What I have learned about God is that the closer I get to Him the easier it is to see the blessings in bad circumstances. The more I want to know His holiness and power the more prevalent are His acts to counteract what wrong is being done in this world. What example do I have?

For the last long while I have been trying to understand who I am. I know. It is like I am a teenager again dealing with the drama of my little life. Here me out. Somewhere along the way, I let negativity consume my heart and fear to paralyze my soul. I pretty much became THAT wall flower, yet felt like this was not where I was supposed to hang. I remembered how I used to be, but at the same time knew that if I were to fix this situation I would NOT be that same girl I used to be. So what now?

I was taking a self paced course and it just so happened that I needed to take a personality test. I always thought those things were so dumb. It is like I could predict what the score was going to be just by how I wanted to respond, but I took the thing anyways. I tried to be as honest as possible. It hurt and I felt like the worst person alive. I know. Drama.

Once I took it there came up the results and what flew across the page in huge letters was the word "DIPLOMAT." I was curious so I read on about my strengths and weaknesses. What at first seemed like it was going to be painful ended up being amazing. I learned where I needed to improve and where I could flourish. I was excited because I not only discovered new things about myself, I knew deep down that this was me all along. I was just clouded to the idea. 

One thing that I learned is that my personality tends to execute two types of people. One minute I am there in the middle of a group, having a good time and pretty much drawing attention to myself. Then I am out of there, like a scurrying cat. I used to become so troubled by the somewhat extraverted part of myself that I would think it was all a joke. Or a way to cover up the "real me." I often found myself thinking that I was THE joke when everyone laughed at something that I said or did. I hated it. I hated this wide open part of myself.

While keeping this in mind, let's move onto another story. 

I never really understood my grandmother. Especially as I grew older and really started to develop my own persona. She LOVED to be the center of attention and have a good time. It wasn't very often that you would find her in some deep conversation and to me she appeared shallow. How was I supposed to connect with this person that seemed so different than myself, or even my family? For a while it troubled me. Especially when I thought "what if her life is shortened and I never get to really know her or connect with her?"

A few months ago I decided I was going to be there when she got out of brain surgery. I hadn't really been around in the last few years with school and life. As I sat there all week with my mom and aunt I really began to think about who I was and who she was. I would stare at her as she was lying there on the bed coming in and out of a fog. I would feel sorry that I wasn't there sooner when she wasn't so groggy and having hallucinations. Sometimes she would wake and when I would come close she would get excited but then would fade off back to sleep. I had a LOT of time to reflect. 

My last night visiting her in the hospital I was sitting there next to my little cousin zoning out. I faintly heard my mom call to me and I looked to see my grandmother reaching out an arm, palm up. Once I realized that she wanted my attention, she pulled her fingers toward herself and I knew I was supposed to come over. She faintly, I believe, said "come dear." So I did and within that moment I felt like I was 6 years old again. Her home in Charlotte, NC flooded back and I could see the hydrendas and Magnolia tree in my mind. The way that the chimes would speak in the wind and how she would hug me. 

When I came to her side I fell into her arms and just rested my chin behind her head. I suddenly knew what brought us together. She whispered "I love you" and I just squeezed her tighter because I could not get the words out. For that little point in time I felt like everything I had questioned, everything that made me a part of her life, all made sense. I was hers and she was mine, no matter how different we were. 

Because the surgery was so serious and her health was not where it should have been, there was the chance that things could not turn out the way we all hoped. In that moment, though, I thought "I am ok with all of this. If I never get to hear her voice again, I will know that I have this moment cemented in my memory." From here I knew that she had given me a part of herself. Despite the fact that my grandmother likes to be the life of the party and despite thinking she wasn't much of a deep thinker, I finally knew her depth. 

There in her embrace I felt what made my grandmother come truly alive. All the times she ever made me feel special and loved by her embraces or words, came flooding back. For a moment in time two different people blended together to create something deeper than even my own thinking. Without that dimension and experience with her I would not fully understand God's purpose in making us all unique.

So when my grandmother did finally pass, I knew that within my heart I had a piece of her. Though this life is rugged and harsh, God still blessed me with the timing. If I had not spent the time trying to understand who I was, I would not have understood in a matter of 5 minutes who exactly my grandmother was. And now?

My photography has sky rocketed. I have no idea if it looks any better than before, but now I know who I am deep within and that a part of my grandmother is in my abilities. Understanding her outgoing personality now feels appropriate when I have the energy to tell a story with drama and intonation. I appreciate the part of me that isn't so deep and secretive, now. I always thought that to really connect with someone you had to have some philosophical conversation, but it won't always be like that. Sometimes it is just in making other people laugh till they cry. Or giving a hug.

Ya, my grandmother is sleeping now in Christ. She cannot give me hugs or come whispering "I love you." I understand that she really is gone, but I also know that who I am definitely includes her. Finally I am not ashamed of all the parts of me. When I go to take a picture I can think of her. When I laugh a really deep belly laugh with others, I know that she influenced me.

For me, God has perfect timing. Despite the sin that is in this life, God is making the harshness a little less of a blow. Yes, there are regrets. There will always be things we wish we had done or NOT done. What we can remember is that if we put our lives in God's hands, He can turn the last 31 years of misunderstanding into 5 minutes of an overwhelming eternal blessing!

I long for that day, where death is just a memory..... God is good.

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