Often when we lose a loved on to death we console ourselves with talk of “eternal destinies.” You would expect as much from a Pastor. But, I confess that most of my thoughts have been about living not dying.
It is not that I am in denial. After all, Dad and I were sitting there in Nan’s room and observed she had stopped breathing. Nurses confirmed what we were certain of. After more than 95 years Nan was no longer with us.
No one is perfect and though my memories may prefer such, what I really think about is the way Nan lived in front of us. Never afraid of an opinion and always faithful even when it may have made more sense to do something different.
To say that Nan was meticulous would be an understatement. Tommy and Jason bought her house. Last month the hot water tank went out. On the door frame of the closet where the hot water tank sat was the date it was installed.
Every gift she received was dated along with a note reminding her who it was from. When we would go on vacation, she would track each fishing expedition. Nan would record the number of fish, who caught the biggest, and what the weather was like. Her journals would be an observers dream.
And there was the chair. Both Nan and Big Paw had their respective chairs. Paw died in 1995. Nan maintained her chair. Next to her chair would always rest a Bible, a journal, and a book. Whatever a person believes about prayer whether it is for us or for others, Patty remarked that we (our family) are now in trouble, “No one prayed for us like Nanny!”, she said.
When you live into your 90’s you see lots of changes. For instance, Nan never really got the hang of the Internet. But, she had one of those “Mail Stations” where she could send and receive email. When her late friend Ms. Oma could no longer hear her when they talked on the phone, she fired up the little machine and they kept up by email.
Until she could not longer drive, she kept her Cadillac Cimarron under the carport in her driveway. She and Big Paw lent that car to Patty and I to drive to Memphis in 1985. We considered moving there for graduate school. You have to know that was huge. Kimberly was only four months old. It was our first trip away from her since she was born. And Big Paw was trusting me with his “Caddie.”
Nan had to be glad for word processors and personal printers. I needed a paper typed. I cannot remember if it was in high school or college, but I think it was college. She was happy to help. That is, until she attempted to cipher my hand-righting. She waded through it. When I picked up the paper, she told me if I wanted her to help me again, I would have to write better. I attribute my typing acumen today to not wanting to embarrass myself by handing over a paper in very poor penmanship. Who has time to work on penmanship these days? Hers was beautiful.
Yes, I believe the story of the Resurrection of Jesus. I believe that changes our understanding of both the way the world works and what hope we have for the future. I also believe that it makes a transformative difference here and now. I would even be so bold to say that if the story does not alter the way we live today, then it holds little power for any kind of future. Nan’s living after the manner of Jesus, as faithful has she knew how, verifies what often our arguments cannot.