A baby was born in a stable over 2,000 years ago and changed the world. And on the very day that we celebrate His birth, in the middle of the afternoon, a woman died. My grandmother. In her own way she changed the world too.
My Grandmother had six children. One passed away when only 3 years old. The other 5 are all living and collectively have 27 children. Those grandchildren have given her 52 great grandchildren. What a debt of gratitude I have for my very life to her. Families are amazing even when they don't function like we think they should.
My grandmother has been in poor health for as long as I can remember. The kind of failing health that leaves a person confined and immobile. It has been that way for decades. I was a small children when I remember her walking on her own. Her husband passed away almost 20 years ago from a debilitating illness. I don't know how she was able to go on for so long in her condition. It is really astonishing.
I have often wondered why God allowed her to live so long in such a state. The conclusion I have arrived at is maybe it had less to do with her and more with us. During the time that she has been ill she has lived with each of her children relying on them for her care and maintenance for varying periods of time. Eventually, that arrangement became insufficient and she required professional care in a managed environment. I know that decision was difficult for her children and for her. She must have known what that would mean. Her mental faculties were intact up until the last month or two.
I am ashamed that I didn't see her more often, but am so glad that during the last few months I was able to visit her at least once a month. The last time just days before her passing. I think that is the closest that I have ever been to seeing death. I am so grateful for the kind and patient people who work with those that don't have much time left on earth. They do a remarkable work and are angels in my eyes.
A baby was born in a stable, and because of His life and death I know that my grandmother will live again. I know that her struggles on earth weren't cruel or in vain, they were lessons. Lessons for her and for me. I know that with God we can endure and accomplish anything. I know that life can be difficult, and seem unfair but that is only a matter of perception. I know that we are never alone even when we are in solitude. Death is not the end.
There is a hymn we sing at church called "Each Life That Touches Ours For Good". I can't help but think about the vast influence each of us have during our lifetime. You never know who will cross your path, or what seeming insignificant event will mean to another person. We are all tied up together in a pretty (and complicated) bow. We each have a purpose and contribution to make.
This next year I hope to live with more purpose in honor of my grandmother.