My grandmother of 92 years is in hospice care. I drove over to see her last week and was taken aback by how frail she looked. As I sat next to her and talked to her, I kept looking at her hands. I thought of everything her hands accomplished during her life – raising three boys; taking care of a home; breeding and raising beagles; growing, picking, and canning massive amounts of vegetables every year; shooting and processing deer every year; raising and caring for rabbits; boarding dogs; creating art and building things; and living a full life. Her hands became still on her blanket as she slept, and I watched her hands raising up and down to match her breathing as I thought of everything they accomplished during her life.
Grandma only said what needed to be said and she said it with truth and boldness. I honestly cannot remember her ever making small talk. The funniest thing I remember hearing her say to date was about a woman sitting in the waiting room with her as she waited for the eye doctor: “She talked and talked for 30 minutes and didn’t say a thing.” Grandma listened and I know this because she always had a remedy or an idea for just about anything. When Dave had to go into the hospital for a stomach ulcer, her advice was to have him eat some lamb. When I wrote to her about our finches and the eggs that were being laid, she gave me tips on caring for a female that was having a hard time passing the eggs. I told grandma once how much I enjoyed hearing chickadees and she told me that she always knew when a deer was around because the chickadees would start chirping. I am thankful for every moment I have had with her and I will always try to follow her example in many areas of my life.
Equally amazing is my sister and our good friend, both of whom are caring for my grandma. The sacrifices they are making, the dedication, and the love they are pouring out for her truly humbles me beyond words.
We are not here on this earth just to exist, waiting for Friday every week and dreading Mondays. We are here to love, create, serve, worship, lift others up, and bless one another. One of the greatest gifts God gives us is the opportunity to care for others – whether it is hands on caregiving, offering a smile to a stranger or encouragement to a co-worker, donating our time or resources to people in need or simply being who God created us to be with no fear holding us back – only holy boldness and beautiful hands.