“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life,” (Proverbs 4:23).
I write these words on the last leg of my flight from Denver back to Jackson. I’ve just returned two granddaughters to their parents after 12 days of what we have come to call “Camp MaeMae,” (i.e. their annual visit). I generally see them a few times over the course of a year, but it is in this concentrated time of togetherness we nourish our relationship—hopefully with memories they will hold dear the rest of their lives.
As I apologized to a friend by email the other day for taking so long to reply to her, I explained that I had been totally immersed in grandmothering and although I tried to get in a little work here and there, my futile efforts were something akin to herding cats or nailing Jell-O to the wall. But there are some times, I have learned, when we just have to choose between the urgent and the important, and this annual visit with Allie and Charlotte is definitely in the latter category.
For me, their little hearts are the focus of grandmothering. I love to tune in to their interests, but in the back of my mind all the time are their hearts, and I am looking and praying for every day opportunities to give them those spiritual nuggets that Jesus was talking about when he told Martha, “But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her,” (Luke 10:41-42). I yearn to know that they know that our God is faithful and that He is the friend who will stand beside them always and forever and in every circumstance.
What a freedom there is in this role! I don’t have to worry about their accomplishments or their report cards or their vaccinations. I can zero in on their hearts. Parents have such a full plate these days. A grandparent has a great opportunity to be a “life giver” in the midst of the “life sapping” experience on the treadmill that has become modern life.
The last two weeks have refreshed my spirit even as the activity has exhausted my body. Their sweet and tender bedtime prayers, the funny and truthful way they express themselves, and the countless conversations we shared over breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in the car, have shaved the cynicism and the pessimism off my exterior for the time being. Allie and Charlotte have been like a conduit back to realities like, “Jesus loves me, this I know.” And from that truth does indeed spring everything that gives meaning and purpose to life on earth.
Heart—I think we have filled this issue with lots of it.
Enjoy Sister Trinita’s story. As I have come to know first Sister Dorothea, and now her dear friend, Trinita, I am not quite so intimidated by their habit or their titles as Dominican sisters. Authentic hearts—they are hard not to want to just snuggle up close to and enjoy the friendship.
Martin Willoughby in “The Way I See It” has just gone through a major life change, and he reflects on it through the eyes of his heart. The view is always best that way as God makes sure you notice those things that are—what else—but truly God things. There is a sense of gratitude that comes with a full heart.
And then, by all means, whether you are single or married, read Amy Ingram’s (“Single Still, Single Again”) reflections on a Grateful Heart. Sometimes you have to dig down and look for it, but when you start counting your blessings, your outlook on life can change even though your circumstances remain the same.
School is already in full swing, and fall activities are gearing up. Fall is almost more the New Year than the real “New Year!” Take a deep breath. Embrace it all, and by all means guard your heart all the way!
“A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance.” —Author Unknown