There are times in our lives when things happen that affect us – unexpected expenses, a doctor’s bill, an accident – and sometimes they are detrimental to our existence. Some of us may act as if nothing phases us, while others go to pieces from worry. Still, others seem to accept these setbacks as part of life. In any case, when these things happen, what do we do about them?
When I was very young, I would spend many weeks during the summer with my grandmother and grandfather in the small town of Hardinsburg, Ky. They had a modest home, and he, a modest job in a hardware store. My grandmother took care of their home and their little garden.
My grandmother loved flowers and always reserved some space in that garden for some cannas and gladiolas. When they bloomed, she would donate them to the church for use on the alter. She was a simple but very wise woman and the love from me, her grandson, was boundless. Whatever she would say to me was final. I never disputed her word.
One day during the latter part of one summer, I mentioned the fact that the weather had been very hot and dry and her flowers were wilting because she had no way of irrigating them. I remember remarking at how disappointed they would be when Sunday came and there would be no fresh flowers on the altar. She turned to me and simply said that it’s the way it is, and God would understand. In my young mind at the time, I couldn’t fathom this wisdom. But, again, I knew that what she had said was to be accepted by me, and the week went by.
On Friday of that week, big black clouds greeted us in the morning. By noon, a drenching rain set in, and on Saturday morning, a miracle had occurred. Her flowers had regained their beauty and were standing tall in the garden. It was like magic. That afternoon, my grandmother, wearing her galoshes, walked into her garden and cut the most beautiful bouquet of gladiolas. She then asked me to walk to the church to give them to the priest’s housekeeper. On the way there, which was only about two blocks away, I recall how proud I was of my grandmother and her flowers. Her simple faith had once again pulled her through a crisis in her life.
Much later, after I was married with children of my own, we visited my grandmother – who by now was a widow – and talked of old times. I wanted my brood to be able to know this woman who had meant so much to me, but it was not to be. I’ll never forget the last visit I had with her. My mother had taken her to her home in Bardstown where she then put her in the hospital so they could help her cancer.
I know my grandmother suffered much pain in her last days. On the day I saw her, I could hear her moaning and crying as I approached her room. I gently knocked on the door, and my mother, with tear-filled eyes, came out into the hall to talk. She told me how hopeless it seemed and that I was to be understanding when I went into the room. It proved to be unnecessary, because when I entered, there was my stalwart, beautiful grandmother with a forced smile on her face, holding her arms out to her favorite grandson. I sat down, and with tears in my eyes held her closely and let her comfort me. I asked her once again if there was anything I could do. She simply said that what she was going through was just the way it is and for me not to worry. When I left her moments later, I cried unabashedly in the hall because I knew she would never leave that hospital.
Many years have gone by since my grandmother left this earth and I still miss having her to talk to. She will always be in my heart, and that’s the way it is!