In Her Shoes

I learned something this week that changed my perspective, which is always, always welcome: I am a a lot like my grandmother.

See, mine and Nana’s relationship hasn’t been this typical, easygoing grandchild/grandparent memory-filled, cookie-baking deal. Although, let it be said, that Nana has baked lots of cookies with me. Moreover, it is sort of sticky- when Mom died, lots of people said and did lots of things that caused more and more things to be said and done over time that strained a lot of relationships. And while I can look back in my past and see how very much Nana loves me, it hasn’t always felt so evident, because of certain decisions she’s made regarding things with which I didn’t agree. And granted, I could’ve (should’ve) worked harder to stay in touch after I moved in with Chris and Lori, but I didn’t and that’s that. I’m changing it. Over the past year, I’ve been rebuilding my relationship with my grandparents, because all of a sudden I woke up and realized that not only did I love them very, very much, but I am faced with a ticking clock: they are 80 years old. I may get 5 more years- ten if I’m lucky. And I don’t want to throw those years away on bitterness and misunderstanding when we could be baking cookies and talking about 1949, you know?

So this week, Nana came with me to Atlanta. And all of the times she made me grilled cheese sandwiches and bought me magazines to read with her at night and tucked me onto the couch with cinnamon toast or fill in the blank came flooding back, and all I wanted to do was serve. It’s kind of amazing what the Holy Spirit empowers you to do, because I’ve felt a lot of disliking towards her at times, but it’s all gone, and all I could think about was how much I love her. And she loves me, too.

Not only that, but Nana and I are lots and lots alike in ways I’ve always yearned to relate to someone, ways I always imagined I’d be like my mom. We talked about our obssessive compulsive tendencies, our lack of directional sense, our knee pain that tends to get worse when we climb stairs. We noted a mutual love for flowers and walking and Mexican food. She told me all about who she was when she was 19, and I told her all about who I am at 19. We talked frankly about things we’ve each done and said in the past, and things that needed to be said now. I told her the truth- I didn’t hide things. And in return, she accepted and agreed and told me the truth, too. And I’m sad she had to come home.

This is a lesson that I’m so glad I learned, an obstacle I’m ecsatic to overcome. It’s a relationship I’ve longed to nourish, and now I’m finally saying to heck with holding grudges and keeping my distance and “letting them come to me” and putting in my own efforts. Don’t take that to mean I did anything at all, but instead, please understand that Jesus Christ transforms minds, perspectives, hearts. He softens, He heals, He reunites. And as it turns out, Nana and I have more than just our stubborness in common.

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