Monday, May 18, 2015

Grandmother's Encouragement

He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in
any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1: 4
My grandmother lived on a street that looked much like this one.  Her white frame house was always surrounded by flowering trees and shrubs.  When I think of her, I think of her love for beautiful flowers and the costume jewelry she loved to wear.  She always had on her beads.  And she smelled like Dove soap and Jergens lotion. 

The memory that is giving me courage today is what she did and how she lived with only one usable arm and hand.  In the late 1950s, a stroke robbed her of the use of her left arm.  She did regain the use of her left leg enough to get around with her cane.  My sweet Papa took care of her as long as he lived but he was gone before 1966.  After a string of caretakers and live in helpers, her courage came to the fore. 

"Leave me alone," she demanded.  "I will be fine by myself.".    And for a long time she was.  She always told us how she prayed and depended on God to help her through the hard times, especially being in the house alone at night.

I think of this today and I remember her standing in her kitchen in front of the stove...a short, round, grey-haired lady of the Old South... standing there in her bare feet cooking on her gas stove.   It was fortunate for her that her stroke didn't take her dominant hand.  While the left arm dangled uselessly at her side, she worked steadily with her right one, frying chicken, making biscuits or dumplings or fried apple pies.  She cleaned her house and washed her clothes and generally took care of herself.  She was amazing.

I'm about to spend a chunk of time without the use of my dominant - right - arm and hand.  The difference  is - once my surgery and physical therapy is done, mine should be better than ever.  Hopefully, the pain will be gone and I can sleep at night.  My inspiration during those long days of dealing with life with one hand will be a woman who has been gone since 1987.  I hope I've got half the determination she had.  I know this:  the source of my courage is the same One she had.  Because she passed her love of the Lord down to me.

Do you think some experience you've had is inspiring someone else today?