Facing Our Worries in Grand-Parenting

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

Certain possibilities in our lives loom over us. Some of the more difficult ones haunt us. As grandparents raising grandchildren, we worry  about a plethora of what ifs.

A few weeks ago, one concern became reality. Victoria’s father died. Some people might ask why this matters. After all, he didn’t play a significant part in her life. It’s true his contact with her consisted of occasional five-minute phone calls and gifts on special days. Yet, he was more present for her than her mother has been in the past three years. She didn’t have to worry about what he was up to or whether he would get in trouble with the law. He was the more stable parent.

Victoria faced this news in her typical way, she cried a moment then became hyperactive. Victoria is the queen of distraction, and she used those talents well to hide her confusion and grief. We got the news on Sunday afternoon. Once the hyperactivity started, I asked her what she wanted to do. I expected a request to talk to her Mommy, and I would have taken her to the detention center right then to make it happen. She didn’t ask for that. I asked if she wanted to talk to her father’s sister who called me. No, she didn’t want to do that. She doesn’t know his family well, and until the call came in, I never knew this particular sister existed. I asked if she wanted to go see his side of the family? No.

She asked to go to Target and Starbucks. That’s what we did.

The next day she went to school. She wanted to go. I called the guidance counselor and let her know the situation. I set up an appointment with our family counselor. Victoria didn’t want to talk about it, but she did tell a few friends. One friend refused to believe her.

Over the week, Victoria didn’t say much. I told the family I would bring her to the funeral if she wanted to go, but she wasn’t sure. I wasn’t going to push. Funerals are hard, and, at twelve, I didn’t want to force her to attend. She decided to go, so the day before the funeral I dragged a reluctant girl out to buy clothing appropriate for a funeral. Victoria doesn’t like dresses and our church is full of blue-jean-clad kids wearing tennis shoes. I stood firm on this one. She had to dress appropriately. She looked lovely, by the way.

Victoria, as his closest next of kin, led the procession into the sanctuary with me by her side. Behind us strung a long line of family members that she barely knew and who knew her father better than she did. One sister couldn’t make it down the aisle without help due to her grief. Victoria’s father’s casket lay open in the front of the altar. She had chosen not to view him prior to the service, so I think she didn’t anticipate the casket still being open when she came down the aisle. As these first few moments unfolded, I worried about her decision to attend. She sat between me and the aunt who I had never met and the tears poured out of her.

She cried through most of the service, but I believe it was good for her. Almost every one who spoke told her how much her father loved and talked about her. She needed to know that.

Life goes on. Now that I know more of her relatives, we’re going to try to help her know this side of her family. The situation in which I met her oldest aunt was not of my choosing, but I’m glad we’ve met her. She’s a spiritual woman who told us a few weeks before his death, Victoria’s father gave his life to Christ. He spent the last weeks listening to gospel music and reading the Bible. Did he know his time was short? I’ll never know. I’m just glad he made this decision and saw Victoria a few days before he died. He gave her a jewelry box he’d made for her birthday–the only gift he ever gave her that was a part of him.

A long list of what ifs haunt those of us raising our children’s children. We hope and pray we’ll never stand by our grandchild as they say goodbye to one of their parents. We know deep down in our souls that the likelihood of this happening is high. For those of you worrying about this concern, I’ll tell you what I learned. You can’t prepare for it so don’t try. Trust in God and focus on today’s challenges. Leave tomorrow for tomorrow.

Snow: Manna From Heaven?

photo 1

Abe takes a break from
eating to pose for a picture.

Everyone knows the South experienced a huge snowstorm shutting down just about everything.  So what do these people do with time on their hands and no place to go?  Dog owners take their pups out for a romp in the frosty ground covering and post it on Facebook.  Don’t believe me?  Just google dogs in snow.  I bet you’ll find a few.

All dogs seem to believe that the snow is God’s gift to them.  The first thing my dog, and any dog for that matter, did was treat the fluffy white stuff like his own personal smorgasbord.  He loved it and kept begging to go outside to gobble it up.  And of course, most dogs love to romp through it.  They treat the snow as a wonderful, joyous event to celebrate and revel in.  And their owners love watching them.

For just a moment, I want you to picture this:

That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.  Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.”           Exodus 16:13-15

When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost covered the ground!  We know this story.  As children, we heard how God fed the Israelites as they wandered through the desert.  But often we read the stories, and we miss the reality of them.  Look at the snow and watch a dog’s appreciation of this ground covering.   This is what the Lord did for the Israelites.  Why?  They had been grumbling about their conditions, and rather than strike them down, he fed them.  Notice the joy you feel watching your dog or someone else’s celebrating the snow.  That’s how God feels when we celebrate His blessings.

What has God done for you?  Do you revel in it with joy as our dogs do with the snow?

If you want to see the kind of joy we should feel over God’s blessings, just check out this snow dog.

The World is a Better Place Because…

As I lay awake this morning contemplating whether I could manage a few more minutes of sleep or not, this line came to me:

The world is a better place because…

Dumbfounded, I tried to finish the statement, but it was a struggle.  If you think about the current state of our world or look back at some of my previous posts (Why Abuse Victims Stay, Healing from Trials and Hardships, Why? How?  A Grandmother’s Questions), you might be hard pressed to complete it, too.  It’s easy to say why it’s not a better place.  The evidence is around us.

I eventually finished this statement with my family, especially my grandchildren, and my God…not necessarily in that order.

Then, I thought about the people in this world who don’t have a faith to fall back on.  How do they get up each day?  How do they move forward with purpose in their lives when there is so much violence and hatred surrounding them?

In James 1:2, Christians receive this admonishment:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.

Easier said than done, but the clue to this is our faith.  Without our faith and the knowledge that God will carry us through, how can you survive?  God gives us the hope and promise of eternal salvation.  He warns us that this world is not our home.  We can carry forward because of this.  We know that whatever happens, God is in control.  We have the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us.   We have the love of Christ to show us how valuable we are.  Everyone can have this, but not  everyone accepts it.

But I mourn for those who don’t know this hope.

How else do you finish this statement?

The world is a better place because…


PS  Apologies for such a long stretch without a blog post.  I became ill following my last post and it took three weeks to get well.  I’m fine and it was nothing serious, but it put me way behind on a LOT of things.

The world is a better place because…. please let me know your thoughts!