Sunday, January 4, 2015

Always Remember...

I love you!

When I was just a little girl of about five years old, I went to spend the summer with my grandparents in New York City.  Although they knew me, of course, I had no memory of my mother’s parents, since we had moved to Chicago when I was about two. 

Today, I remember my grandmother being a very stern and seemingly cold woman who never smiled or laughed or seemed to enjoy life.  She had lived through two World Wars, and the Great Depression.  She had lost a child she loved in a tragic car accident and endured having a son who contracted polio and was crippled for the rest of his life.  She was something like a rubber band, stretched by pain to the limit, always about to burst.

My grandfather, on the other hand, was a study in contrast.  He was a serious man.  After all, he had lived through the same circumstances that my grandmother had.  But, somehow, he had found a grace and a peace with life that my grandmother never did.  Always avoiding my grandmother for fear of another rupture of her temper, I watched with the big, innocent eyes of childhood, as my grandfather, for some reason unknown to me, loved my grandmother. 

Her angry outbursts and sour disposition didn’t seem to faze him.  He still teased her and called her “Mary Lou”.  When he called her that, all her frozen edges melted away right before my eyes.  He would hug her and kiss her and pinch her affectionately.  I, terrified to get to close to her, watched in amazement that she was “touchable”!

I don’t remember a lot about that summer.  Except for Sunday evenings in the living room.  We didn’t watch T.V.  We sat around and talked, or played checkers or read books or the comics.  I waited anxiously watching every move my grandfather made until, as if on cue, he would rise from his chair, stretch his big frame and invite me to go to the corner grocery store to buy an ice cream cone.  Off we would go, my little five year old hand cupped in his enormous, grown-up hand, just me and Gramps! 

Back home in Chicago, I was one of six kids and a twin to boot.  I didn't know what it was to have my parents all to myself!  Yet, here I was, all alone with my grandfather, and he was buying me an ice cream cone!  This happened without fail every Sunday evening.  I thought it must be my reward for surviving the week with my grandmother!

We would trot into the grocery store with my grandfather announcing loudly that “my granddaughter needs an ice cream cone, Jerry!”  Then we would make a big production out of selecting just the right type of sprinkles to decorate the top of my ice cream cone.  Life just didn't get any better than this!  Grandpa loved me.  I had proof!  He bought me ice cream.  And he threw some sprinkles on top, just for extra measure!

This dear man, my mother’s father, has been home with the Lord for many years now.  I never spent another summer with him.   But, the memory of his love for me, and for my grandmother, is indelibly written on my heart.  He taught me so much about love in the few short months I had with him.  Here are some of the lessons I learned at my grandfather’s knee.

Love comes in many different packages.  
Some come with understanding for the misunderstood.
Some come with forgiveness for the unforgivable.
Some choose to see with eyes of love what no one else can see.
Some remember the love that was shared 
when everything seemed so right.
Some continue to love when everything goes wrong.
Some remember the promises that were made yesterday.
Some keep the promise long after others have forgotten.
Some protect the object of their love, no matter what.
Some sell everything they have for love and never look back.
Some don’t just buy the ice cream.  
They throw some sprinkles on top…


" Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres... Love never fails. Now abide faith, hope and love.
 But the greatest of these is love."
 1 Cor. 13:4-8, 13