Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Living and Dying

Nearly 3 weeks ago, my grandma passed into eternity. It was a peaceful passing, a gift to her as well as to us as her family. Somewhat miraculously, my parents were able to make it Pennsylvania the following day. Over the next few days her grandkids and most of the great grandkids trickled in to celebrate her life and to be together after her passing.

My gram had down-sized til her worldly goods consisted of a chair and a few bags of belongings. The process had not always been easy, but it made her passing easier for us as her family. Her struggles wondered all of us, and yet in the end, I was pleasantly surprised to notice her legacy. In the midst of her pain and wondering and struggle, she had somehow raised a woman who became an effective missionary and three grandkids who love God deeply. She wanted more children, but she was given only one who survived infancy. She ached for all she had missed, and yet she somehow left behind a room full of people who have been able to enjoy so many things she could not.

In the end, it was grace. For all of us, it boils down to grace and always will. Our choices matter, our hearts are important, and yet God wants to do so much more than we can imagine. And I think if we look around, we will notice that He is already doing it. The buds of miracles are there, the beginnings of new growth and legacy are appearing. And maybe that realization is a gem that my grandmother's struggle gave to me.

There was a lot of laughter during the family viewing, a lot of joy in being together. It seemed a little strange, and yet fitting, that in the face of death we should celebrate life because dying really is a part of living. And my gram is more alive now that she has ever been.

I have a lot more to say about our time in Pennsylvania and our drive across the country, but I think I'll close for now.