Let’s stay with the topic of love! We’ve had a pretty good run at it so far this month!
One of my 4 kids used to wonder which of them I loved most of all. I’d tell her the story about my Grandmother to help her understand that I loved each one with the same intensity, but with individualized focus and propensity!
Grandma Kringel modeled grace and mercy to the 9’s. My biological grandmother died when I was 2 and my grandfather later married this lovely woman! She affirmed me, whether teaching me to play canasta, single deck of course, when I was 8; or exuding over the sour cherries I picked from her tree so she could make pies with my help and when she sewed clothes for my “Bride Doll.” She and Grandpa traveled to be with us when our parents went out of town. In contrast to his miserly affection, she was my cheerleader and encourager no matter what was going on in my life. She had no idea what WAS going on in my life, actually, because I was a shy child and didn’t share my fears or hopes with anyone. It would have been pretty hard for her to guess, since she’d had no children of her own.
I was drawn to my grandmother because she made me feel special, so special in fact that I was pretty sure I was her favorite. That was NOT spoken, mind you, but if I’d had a trusted friend, I would have confessed it with little guilt. I felt really good about my relationship with my grandmother. She never knew it, but there were times when she was my “life-line!” I could get quiet inside just thinking about sitting next to her on the porch swing in Pittsburgh when she tried to teach me to knit. I was terrible at it and had no patience with the knit one purl two part…but I loved being with her so much I held the needles and made truly awful looking doll scarves! Her fondness for me, her unconditional regard, soothed my soul, even when she wasn’t around.
When I had my first child, the miles between us were many, but I did take the baby to meet her. We had a sweet time. My parents traveled to see her more often in her later years and were concerned about how frugally she lived, turning off her water heater at night for instance, or cooking down her leftover bars of soap to save money. They supplemented her meager income a little now and then when she would let them. So it was with great surprise when she died and the will was read that, lo and behold….Grandma Kringel left me money in her will! There it was…my name and the amount! And, there it was…the name of every other one of her 10 grandchildren ..and their amounts, the same as mine! $2,000 for each of us! Imagine her sacrifice on our behalf! Who would have guessed? We’d all benefited from her unconditional affection, as we were able to receive it. I never talked it over with my cousins, but I assumed they must have felt as loved as I did. I wasn’t loved any less or more than they were. I was loved for who I was by who she was!
That story seemed to settle my daughter’s curiosity about how I could love each one of my four children as much as the others!
Incidentally, my dad offered to invest my inheritance for 5 years. This was in the ‘70’s and times were good. That investment increased 17 times, significantly multiplying the blessing of my grandmother’s sacrificial love! I see a reflection here of God’s love for us. The Bible calls believers “adopted” sons and daughters of the King, whom He loves equally! In fact we can’t do anything to make Him love us more or less! I was “adopted” into my grandmother’s life when my widowed grandfather married a second time. I knew my grandmother loved me, humanly speaking, for sure! God loves us for sure, no matter what. I had no idea about my grandmother’s riches until she died. In Eph 3:8 the Apostle Paul describes the “boundless riches of Christ” for us to expect and enjoy them! In RO 11:33, St. Paul again. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” That’s Who God IS! That’s a peek at how His love draws us close to Him every day!
I can still feel my grandmother’s affirming presence when she comes to mind. My heavenly Father’s Presence is always with me whether I can feel it or not. Whom does He love the most? Everyone He ever made. That’s you. That’s me. And that’s the Truth! Feel the love?!