March 19, 2012
Grandma Darleen did ceramics. Bryon remembers painting with her when he was very, very little. She fashioned probably hundreds of gorgeous figurines, ornaments, and vases in her life.
At her wake a table was set up in the back of the room, next to two photo displays that Gretchen, Alexis and I created on our living room floor in tears and giggles. On that table was a variety of things that Grandma Sharon and her twin sister Karen had collected to showcase her talent and love for painting.
One of those pieces has a story. A mighty one that was a surprise until Monday evening after the visitation. You see, Grandma had selected one piece for her grandson Bryon, and inside was a note that she had written, depicting her wishes.
He was scared to death to hold it, and amazed that Grandma had gifted him a statue of Christ. After all, just because he was raised in the church and confirmed, doesn't mean he had an intimate relationship with God. Bryon himself would tell you that this relationship didn't exist in this capacity until just a couple of years ago. So for Grandma to select this for him, well, quite meaningful.
It was after the wake when we were headed back to the hotel, where we stopped after the grocery store run. We were parked in the lot of the hotel and my three were talking to their dad. Bryon reached down and cradled Jesus in his hands. Tears welled in his eyes.
You guys, this statue is beautiful. The care Grandma took to fashion his face, to paint his eyes and lips and hair... you can feel it when you hold him in your hands.
So on that night he flipped Jesus upside down and peered inside.
It was dark, but we could see her handwriting even then. Our breaths caught in our throats. Bryon untwisted the piece of fragile paper, that had been neatly tucked inside since February of 2007. According to Grandma's story, she'd been cleaning her bedroom that afternoon and as she dusted this piece, she was overcome with a knowing that it should go to Bryon when she died.
In addition to that explanation, she wanted him to know that God would take care of him. She reminded him that FAITH would guide him through all of the valleys of this life. She told him that she knew that happiness was just around the corner for him.
The note she wrote was placed inside of the statue just a few months before his wife left with another man. And just before his dad died of lung cancer in his arms.
He asked me how I thought that she knew. I answered very simply. "She didn't know. God told her. And so she passed that on to you."
It was a few sweet moments that we sat in that lot, staring at Jesus. The kids finished their phone call and ants filled their pants, wanting to go inside. I kissed him and patted his hand.
No doubt in our minds that Grandma Darleen is rocking it out with Jesus right now. And no doubt that He told her 5 years ago to remind her grandson that, while his life would get very, very difficult, HOPE was waiting for him - in the arms of Jesus.
Jesus is sitting on our dresser now, watching over us. Reminding us to be still and have faith, always.