Oh! Where to start when I want to pour out my whole heart…
Grandma, I am so grateful for you. I thank God for you, for how he works in and through you. I thank God for how he has gifted you, and how you glorify him in your gifting.
In many ways, you have taught me gratitude. As you live and love the radiance of Christ, I have learnt what it means to be truly thankful, truly generous, and truly a giver and receiver of gifts. You never expect anything in return. Your only desire is for channels of love and grace to flow freely, and I know, like our Father in heaven, your desire is for the love to be mutual, but, knowing the imperfection of love in people, you do not expect it.
It is an honour to be your granddaughter. I have been blessed in being able to witness how you shower love on those around you. My heart fills just beginning to reflect on all the ways you serve.
Love leads you to this place – a place where stubbornness is a strength – where you are satisfied and sure, so set on wanting to serve others before you do anything for self.
Grandma, you are a well of love. I see Christ in you, and I see love in all you do. I think of the Last Supper, and I think of you. On that table there was food, and food is your forte. I can see it now. If you were there, you wouldn’t be seen at the supper. You would be behind the scenes. In the kitchen. Preparing. Providing. You amaze me in your capacity, for you are both Martha and Mary in identity. You embody what it means to be Jesus’ hands and feet. You serve and worship, you keep busy and you remember to s l o w. You know what is most important. Your devotion to Him is demonstrated in how you balance these dichotomies. You don’t stand on your own two feet. You kneel before the Lord in humility. And he sees. He sees all you do, and he acknowledges you. He invites you to sit, to stop, as he washes your feet. He cleanses you of duty and calls you to remain at rest in Him.
I am astounded by how you ooze with the compassion that can only come from knowing the One who was first compassionate to us. It baffles me that without a doubt, you will send a weekly letter across the country. On top of all your other responsibilities and activities, you take out this time for me. If the mail fails, you’ll send an online gem instead. Oh how blessed I am to receive these handwritten delicacies, these details and descriptions of a life well-lived, a life spent in communion with others and an intimacy with the Trinity, the true image of unity. For what you do Grandma is commune – you dine with others, you let them in, you open yourself and your home – just as our Heavenly Father opens doors for those who come to him. Your hospitality reflects what it truly means to have a home, heart abiding in the Lord, a place where the soul finds rest. As he is your dwelling place, you invite others to dwell on his nature, his open arms and nurturing love. The love that flows in your bones is not only of family roots but the root of truth, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who makes all things new – who transforms all you do.
Do you remember Christmas Eve?
We spent the day together, and my memory bank was filled. I think of the first Christmas and then look to our own family occasion and I see the parallels, the manifestation of love. I think also of Easter. Though I miss our family Easter’s now, I think of how our hearts will feast on His love for eternity.
On that Eve, you told me about Torquay. Your memories from when you were a girl. I could see you there, at the beach, looking over the water, collecting shells, just like me. Why? because we’re soakers. You soak in the sauces you stir, the herbs and aromas your prepare – and I soak in the words I write, the countless images that come to mind. I could see you there, but I could see you here too. Double vision. I could see your hair looking like silver on heaven’s strings and I could see your eyes shine like those fairy lights on the Christmas tree. Most importantly though, I could see your heart. The love that fastens itself to the family and the faith. The love that has full-fruit in your life, and that makes me smile in delight.
I delight in your presence, and I delight in your preparedness.
On Christmas day we prepared. We. When I asked to help, you didn’t hesitate to invite. Of course, your wisdom and ways are far grander than mine, especially in the kitchen, so I thank you for letting me help and for letting go – for letting go of that perfectionistic trait we both know so well, and for letting me practice your ways. You are gentle in the kitchen, and in the measures and the process of making, you prepare love. A love that nourishes and flows. A love that never runs dry or empty. Thank you for letting me decorate with the ivy and the dainty copper lights. For letting me slice and grate, scrub and wait. Thank you for those moments spent cleaning the mess we made, the patient time spent at the bench, the window framing the light that comes from both above and within.
In our preparation for the Christmas feast, there was a moment with herbs that comes to mind. As my precious Mama didn’t read the recipe and made a beautiful display of finely chopped greens you didn’t need, I saw your love shine through as you went to your daughter in laughter, delighting at the innocent mistake. Because that’s what you do. You look over other’s mistakes. Even when your heart breaks. You overlook. Even though you hurt from other’s mistakes.
I know how you see. Your heart bleeds because you see with love. Love, and all its complexity.
Grandma – even though loving can be both blessing and curse – I thank you for teaching me how to love even when it’s hard, how to invite others in even when you feel like you’re in the dark. I thank you for the light you show through hospitality and generosity. I thank you for the way in which you give give give and never think twice about sacrifice, especially for family. I know you say yes too often and I think I learnt that from you, but I see how you care. I see your compassion and it drives the nails into the hands of what it meant for Christ to die so that we might truly live and see.
It is brave to make room in our hearts for others – holes that will inevitably fill and empty. It comes with great pain – for love can break and be drained. It is truly unfathomable to think of the cross and empty grave, where true love made a way. Both brave and in pain, the Saviour conquered the grave. Now, love will never look the same. As Jesus’ blood covers over every wound, we can risk the room to open our hearts, knowing that all who ruin or vacate hold no place against the weight of the One whose love is for eternity.
So, my beautiful Grandma, this is my expression of gratitude. Your godly influence in my life has, is, and will continue to bear much fruit for His name. I want you to know that my heart breathes when I am with you. It breathes, and never bleeds. I ache when your heart breaks, but nothing overtakes the beautiful grace. For you are full of grace. Grace-full.
You fill the tummies but you also fill the heart.
My writing could flow forever into eternity, but I hope you can see, in my rambling, how much you mean to me.
All my love,
I am blessed to have many godly women in my life who have influenced and inspired me. I would like my other beloved Grandma to know that this letter does not diminish to any degree her value to me. I love you equally, and am blown away by how each of you glorify him in your many giftings. I would also like to thank my dearest mother for her endless encouragement to me, and how she has shaped me through her faith, strength and dignity. When reflecting on others in our lives, we can see God’s character manifest like a mosaic. There are a myriad of ways we show love as Jesus’ hands and feet. My prayer is that we might be people who call out the life and love of others.