Thursday, May 8, 2014

Grands by Ramona Callahan

When I think of my grandparents, teachers, preachers and friends who I’ve looked up to over the years, they all have one thing in common. They told stories. I loved to hear the stories they told of the things they had experienced personally, the things they knew about, and the things they had learned. The common thread was they were all talking to me. There was a relationship where I was listening and they were talking. I may have been part of a large audience or an audience of one sitting on a lap, but they were talking while I was listening. As nature would have it, many of them are no longer alive. What’s left of them here on earth? What’s left is the stories, the memories of hearing them told by the one who knew more than I, simply because he or she had been around longer. 

“I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory, how He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me. I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood's atoning, then I repented of my sins and won the victory.” Wonderful words that remind me of the stories told by some of the special people in my life. Other stories are the classic novels and plays we read in high school. Teachers made them come to life off the pages and take on new meaning as they explained the dialog. The economics teacher taught us to watch money and markets while the history teacher helped us see how our economy got there in the first place. But it was my grandmother who let me see a glimpse of the reality of those effects on every day people as she told me stories of TB and Sanatoriums. It was my grandfather who told me what it was like during the depression to stand in line hoping the food didn’t run out before he got to the front. It was also my grandfather who told me how he cut hair and shaved faces during the war and rode on a city sanitation truck to feed his family afterward. It was my Sunday School teacher who helped me see how to carry out the words of Jesus by caring for others when they needed something as simple as a hand to hold. It was my mother who took me to nursing homes to sing to people whose families might not be able to visit often. It was my Dad who told me to smile when they kissed my cheek with whiskered lips and not to let on like it bothered me. Then I got busy. I became an adult and had children of my own. Grandparents died and teachers retired long after I graduated and forgot about high school. Those lessons stayed with me though.  The memories of the relationships are precious. I learned from them.  

It is for this reason I love to hang out with “grands.” Grands are the people who could be my grandparents. Grands are people my age and a little older who already have grandchildren. Grands are people who have a grand personality, one that oozes excitement and joy. Grands are people who have stories to tell. 

Grands are also people who need to be heard. Perhaps their own “audience” is too busy to listen or has heard the same stories so many times they’ve lost the enthusiasm of listening. After all, you can only laugh at the same punchline so many times. Grands are people who need and long for relationship as much as I do. They are my mentors in Christ, and I am their hope for future generations. These are people I can continue to learn from while offering an ear and an opportunity for them to tell their stories. They are the folks in my church and in my neighborhood and in my salon who have so much to offer simply by being a friend who tells stories.   

To the Grands I say as Paul said to the Philippians, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” 

No comments:

Post a Comment