I retain some short vivid memories of my childhood. I also retain a lot of general memories but this one is what I would call vivid. The few seconds of this event took place shortly after my grandfather died while sitting next to Grandma in church one Sunday morning.
Grandma was crying but her voice and her face defied her tears. When I asked what was wrong and she said, while smiling(?!), “I’m alright.” And here’s the thing, she actually sounded and looked happy. Three decades later I realized I was unwittingly looking at the grace of God within her. She had a quiet assurance that she would see Clifford again; an assurance that even she herself is redeemed through Christ; an assurance that came from walking with Jesus.
I left the church after the sixth grade. I returned 24 years later and was found two years later. I sent Grandma a letter and then went to visit her to tell her the good news! However, Grandma did not remember our short conversation. In fact she did not remember me. For 6 years of visits to the nursing home Grandma remained pleasant and loving and completely oblivious of our relationship.
After losing her husband, Grandma cried many tears and told many people “I’m alright” but in one little boy, she planted a seed. I wrote a short poem for Grandma. It is my very first Christian poem. I wanted to thank Grandma for shining Jesus, for making me feel special, and for loving me unconditionally.
December 29, 1998
Sitting next to you in our church that day,
I never heard a word Pastor Gene had to say
I wasn’t even ten but I could hear you cry
Looking in your face, I saw a tear in your eye
“What’s wrong?” I asked, were you in pain?
“I’m alright” you smiled but your tears fell like rain
I wasn’t even ten and though I knew the story
of how He came and died, I never felt His glory
Many years I lived ignoring pain and loss
before I understood and placed it at the cross
After all this time of storing up my pain,
I felt Jesus’ Love, and my tears fall like rain
Grandma will always be my favorite bible.