The path to destiny is not necessarily clear-cut or predictable.
Many who are now walking in their life’s calling will say they either had promptings that they needed to do it or situations presented themselves unexpectedly and resulted in a new direction for them.
I would say I am experiencing the latter.
My grandmother, who is like a mother to me, is now 86 and is becoming more frail and dependent. I am seriously emotional about this, so forgive me if I stop to dry tears as I write. This lady loved us all and sacrificed EVERYTHING – even the thoughts of pursuing a career – to care for our family. She was more than the one who prepared meals, sewed, ironed uniforms and gave baths. Her love was in everything she did. Her food was prepared straight from her heart; our clothing was always neat and well-made (she made us uniforms for school). Our hair – she did her best with our afro-puffs. My parents worked outside of the home, sometimes with crazy hours, so knowing that she was home with us gave them peace of mind.
Grandma taught us how important a REAL, LIVE relationship with Jesus Christ was to her. She prayed incessantly; I would walk into the kitchen and I would pause in reverence as she blessed a pot of food. (NO WONDER her food was so delicious!) She was an enthusiastic Sunday School teacher, girls’ club coordinator, Children’s Church Coordinator and Choir director. Did I tell you that she gave flannel-graph stories before we had our breakout Sunday School classes every Sunday for many years? Adults would “front” like they were coming to take part in their own classes. Truth be told, everyone loved the flannel-graph stories! She told the stories so well that they became embedded in our hearts.
She was also an Adult-Literacy teacher. Education is vitally important, but many still slipped through the cracks due to poverty, neglect and sometimes due to farming. As many Jamaicans became adults and sought better jobs they realized the need to learn how to read and write. Our island of Jamaica had (or has, it’s been so long….) an island-wide literacy program and she was a faithful volunteer. Yes, she was UNPAID! I should also mention all her church involvement were unpaid positions. Her love for people and her excitement when people “got it” kept her forging ahead.
Her example at home cannot be understated. Integrity was highly valued in our household. I remember vividly when I got my first significant tearing from my grandmother when I was a first-grader. I stole a couple of dollars from her purse (I thought she wouldn’t notice) and bought snacks at school – never mind that she always provided a fantastic lunch daily. When I stepped in the door, she was behind the door – with a belt. It was ON! That taught me a valuable lesson – if you need something, ask for it. Don’t just take it without asking.
Prayer, worship, music and singing played a significant part in our lives. We were some singing people! My mother (RIP Mommy) had a melodious voice….I miss hearing her sing. We learned jingles on the radio and sang many children’s choruses throughout our home. I should add that listening to secular music was not allowed – nor dancing to it either. So it was gospel all the way, a practice which I have carried on even today. My son will listen to Rap/Hip Hop – but it’s Christian. We sang the sacred hymns of the church so often at our weekly family devotions that I know many of them by heart. They mean so much to me, as they revive wonderful, beautiful memories.
In all these things Grandma played a significant part – whether she was the leader or the coordinator of an effort, you knew she was involved somehow.
So back to my original thought. As I help her with tasks she once helped us with when we were children, I reflect on the circle of life, on how we are “children” twice. I want so much to hug her now, just to say I plan to be there until she leaves us all for eternity. This path to destiny is sprinkled with pain, suffering and disappointments. We experience hilarious moments and somber ones.
Because I am realizing how significant the world of the elderly is and how many are falling through the cracks because their loved ones may not care as much (or may not be physically able to be involved), I feel a tug on my heart. Is my destiny tied up with the geriatric generation? Those who have made significant contributions to society seem to fall off the map once they have stepped off the stage and are now backstage. What can I do to help them know that they are not finished until they close their eyes for the last time? What other contributions can they make that will help us who are younger live richer and wiser lives? What lessons did they learn that they would want a young person to ask about? They may hesitate to share at first, but it could be that they do not know if we are toying with their emotions or if we are really eager to learn.
I have sat at my grandmother’s feet figuratively all my life. I will continue to glean from her wisdom, and as her life heads towards eternal sunset, I pray that I will mature and walk into the wisdom that she is still eager to share. Although she’s never been to college, she is a master teacher. She demands our very best – and I find that I demand the same of myself and my son.
I am walking towards a new path……
Hmmmmmm…….I wonder where this will lead.