You know how it is when you're young. You can't imagine "old" people any other way than the way you've always known them.
Growing up I'd heard the stories about how my Grandmother lacked shoes and proper clothes. I knew she had lived in poverty as a child and that things were fairly desperate for her family.
I realize I've only recently gotten to the point where I'm able to process a bit more about what that reality was like for her and how it affected her entire life. I suppose I've finally reached a point where I've gained enough life experience to be able to imagine myself in her shoes as she carried her history forward with her into life as a young wife, then mother, then grandmother.
My mom recently told me a story about my Grams which has been on my mind constantly since my Gram's death. She shared that during one of my Gram's trips to Kenya her party had traveled across the countryside by train. Running alongside the train were children begging for food. The passengers would toss out whatever they had to the children. My Grams relayed to my mother that she couldn't keep from crying because of the experience. When asked why she was crying she responded that she had been one of those children begging. The painful experience of seeing the children in need had been too much for her.
Above is a photo of her as a child. Everyone would joke (including she herself) that she looked pathetic in this photo; that she could have been some kind of poster child, with her ragged doll and her sad expression. While everyone could find the humor in it I think its a fitting reminder of the events that shaped my grandmother, and as a result an entire family.
Today I stand in awe of God's eternal perspective and the way He moves through generations. I am amazed at how truly interconnected we are. It is unfathomable to me how God divinely molds and shapes the character of individuals, families, communities, countries and beyond.
If my grandmother hadn't suffered and learned the lessons her trials taught her, I wonder would I be the woman I am today? How many experiences of hers have trickled down through my mother to me.
I will never know just how deeply the influences of others have impacted my life, but today I can sense a few of the largest.
At her funeral many people spoke of her dedication to social issues and her love of justice. I pray that her legacy would live on. I pray that my grandchildren will be able to recognize some of her in me and that my life's work would point them back to the Divine Author of our faith. I keep on asking God to refine my worship so that it would be in spirit and truth.
Finally, when I wrote my last post about my Grams I didn't have any photos of her. I wanted to include the glamorous wedding photo I spoke of in that post. Here she is in all her bridal glory standing next to the love of her life. And, just because I love their love story, I'm including another one from later on in their lives.
PS- I really wanted you to see how adorable they were in older age but those files contained errors and would not upload. So here they are, not quite as old as they grew together, but still very much in love. Always, when photographed they had their arms around each other. I love it!