Saturday, May 21, 2011

What I Saw Her Doing ... Building Relationships

When I was growing up, my parents & I lived with my Granny and Aunt K.  I spent a lot of time with Granny since both my parents worked, so her values and ethics were instilled in me at an early age. 
And I still have them.

She was a hard-worker, a strong woman and most importantly a woman who loved God with all her heart.  One of the many things I remember about Granny was something she said to all of her family – “You can do what you see me doing.”  A bold statement … yet a true testimony to my Granny’s character.  Now, her children may have said (and actually did say) “The only thing we see you do is work hard!”  And Granny would reply “Well ...”  (coming across as "and your point is?")  Yes, Granny had a way of getting her message across.

Today as I thought about my Granny, her saying came back to me.  And I reflect on the aspect of her relationship with others.  She was always willing to help anybody:  strangers would knock on my Granny’s door and she would always help them with whatever they needed. She never turned anyone away.  Although she’s been in Heaven for 25 years now, when pictures are posted of her on Facebook there’s a string of comments from people who keep saying what a wonderful woman she was --- and I couldn’t agree more. 

I started thinking back over the years of living away from my family.  And one thing I can say is that my Granny’s belief relationships carried with me even though we were hundreds of miles away.  When Granddad & I moved with our baby daughter, we left behind most of our family. (Two of my cousins lived in the same city that we moved to, but they both moved away many years ago. Now G-G & Grandpa, and my sister & her family are just 1 ½ hours away from us.)

So, in order for our daughter to “know her family” -- Granddad's family and both sides of aunts, uncles & cousins -- in our home-states, we made a few trips each year to visit them.  Granddad’s family lived fairly close by, so we would stay with them for the duration of our visits.  And we would take time to visit my family.  This was important to Granddad & me so that both sides of our families could develop a lasting relationship with our daughter.  In our generation, several of our kids were around the same age (within 5 or so years of each other), and always looked forward to visits … carrying on my Granny’s legacy of building relationships.  It was so much fun seeing the kids play together & build the bond that would last even til this day, and still many miles apart from one another. 

These relationships didn’t “just happen” as my Granny’s great-grandchildren were growing up.  They took time … they took sacrifice … they took deliberation.  Yes, deliberation.  When we would finalize our travel plans to make sure Granddad’s family would be home, I would then call my Aunt and she would let the rest of the family know that we were “coming in for a visit.”  It didn’t matter the length of the visit.  It just mattered that our daughter was building lasting relationships with her family – the families that both of us grew up in. 

Unfortunately over the past several years, we haven’t been able to travel for family visits as much as we would like.  Various responsibilities just haven’t really allowed us the time to personally introduce Lucy to the rest of the family.  But you know, we all stay close through Facebook, texts, emails, and phone calls.  We are at varying stages in our lives, and sometimes we just don’t communicate as we have in the past. But we have already laid our relationship foundation.  And although face to face visits would be wonderful, we all understand that sometimes that’s just not possible. Thank God for technology that can bring families close together who are separated by the miles ... it has with us.     

There have been times when it’s been impossible to travel for the milestone occasions – graduations, weddings, anniversaries, births.  But maybe the whole point about these milestones really isn’t the milestone itself.  Although disappointing if it’s not possible to attend, maybe there’s something deeper and more meaningful … and it’s in our relationships.  Could it be that God wants us to see these milestones through our relationships, and maybe not necessarily through the occasion itself?

You know, my Granny absolutely loved getting together with her family.  But if someone couldn’t be there for a specific occasion, she just looked forward to when she was able to see them.  She would just say “Oh law, don’t worry about that. You come in when you can and we’ll sit on the back porch and just talk.”  That’s what I saw my Granny doing … always building relationships. 

So Lucy, I know that your Granny sure can’t live up to your Great-Great Granny’s “you can do what you see me doing”.  But I do pray that you value relationships just as much as your Great-Great Granny Lucy did.  And that you see God in every relationship you have.  Your Granny loves you, Little Princess.    


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