Read: I Corinthians 13:4-7
In college, I majored in horticulture and landscaping. Since I was little, I have enjoyed working in the yard. I love things that grow. While I was in seminary, I worked at a greenhouse. During the winter months, the work was hard, cold, and the results were hard to see. The greenhouses were empty and ugly, but when spring came, the burst of color can take your breath away. No matter how long you live, our relationships seem to need a little more time. It helps if you take life moment by moment and day by day. Let the relationships and experiences, even the little things, take your breath away.
Late in the year 2000, my grandmother was nearing the end of her life. I’m not sure what came over me, but one day I bought a journal, and I decided to write to her all of the little things I loved about her. Here is what I wrote:
This book of memories I lovingly dedicate to the most wonderful grandma in the world. I have so many memories in my early childhood at your house. I can still smell and feel the warmth that only your home had. I loved to go there. My love for birds and plants goes back to wonderful days spent at Mawmaw’s house. Each time I spent the night, we would all pile in the back bedroom in your oversized bed—Mawmaw, Pawpaw, Shelley, and me. The clock was the loudest ticking clock ever made, and the mattress and pillow would crackle because they were covered with plastic. Paw Paw would snore so loud that you could barely hear the ticking clock, and each hour the grandfather clock in the hall would chime. Oh, I honestly love to spend the night cuddled up next to you, Maw Maw. When morning finally came, we would play hide and seek. The house seemed so big. The sewing room was the most fun. It had a piece of every roll of material ever made.
Probably my favorite childhood memory must have come on a day that I had worn your patience thin. I wanted so badly to catch one of the pigeons in the yard. You so patiently explained, with a saltshaker in hand, that if I would hide in the bushes and sneak up in time to sprinkle salt on their tail, they would no longer be able to fly. I spent hours in the bushes, but amazingly enough, never did get close enough to sprinkle the salt on any bird’s tail. I also remember “Snipe hunting” at night with a paper bag and a stick. I still haven’t caught a snipe.
I still remember catching perch in the neighbor’s pond. That’s where I learned patience-or maybe I’m still learning! If the fish weren’t biting, we would go back to the house and make the most wonderful grilled cheese sandwiches ever. I still remember the recipe- 1⁄2 stick of butter, thick bread and 2 or 3 slices of cheese, a little of Mawmaw’s time, and love. I love you for that memory!
I also remember feeding the cows and chickens, milking the cows, making or “churning” butter, and working in the garden.
We spent many hours picking blackberries. Nobody makes blackberry cobbler like you! I loved to go out to the barn and see the baby chicks. I spent hours playing under the old bridge. It was a beautiful place to build childhood memories that have lasted a lifetime. I use to love riding with you on the old tractor. I thought I was big stuff.
I will never forget how fast my heart raced the day you let me believe I was helping you as you were weed-eating the ditch in the pasture, and we came across that thirty-five-foot long black snake. It didn’t bother you a bit- with one stroke; his head was gone. An hour later, my heart returned to a regular pattern. I always loved Sunday lunch at your house. No one cooks as you do. I can still smell the butter beans and peas on the stove. The potatoes and fried chicken out of your back yard are always better than KFC could ever hope to prepare. I guess what I’m trying to say is I love you more than life itself. Thank you for such beautiful memories. The best gift that you have given me is your time! I love you!!!!!!!!!
Take time to write down the things you love the most about the people God has placed in your life as a gift. In less than a year my grandmother was gone. Don’t waste YOUR opportunities.