Brenda’s Blog – April 9, 2019
“Our children and grandchildren don’t want our stuff, but they need our stories.”
Shelves displaying memory-filled mementos, drawers packed with utensils whose function I have long forgotten, and walls filled with well-loved paintings… these are memories held in my heart and mind.
As I pass through rooms sweet days, even torturous times, flood back. I often smile, retelling an experience to myself. Yes, I live alone and no, my walls don’t judge me! When my children come to my house, they, too, walk around looking. But what they are thinking is “How in the world are we going to get rid of all this stuff when Mom moves or dies?” The activity looks the same, but the emotional response is totally different.
The current fad of holding each item in the hands and asking, “Does this spark joy?” leaves me cold. My nearly 2000 books feed my soul; they are my friends. But in reality, their commercial value is minimal. Inheriting a library of others’ stories might be interesting, but knowing what God has done in and through me will give them a sense of who they are, as well.
How do we tell our story? The ancient Jews were told to tell their stories as they walked, talked, worked, and worshipped. When our children were young, parenting experts reminded my generation of the ongoing, informal opportunities in each day. My friends and I laughed often at those rugged, out-of-control times reflecting on them as “teachable moments.” My Dad used to say, “the things you cry about today you will laugh about tomorrow.” Clearly, there are qualifiers, but I find his aphorism to be so very true. Riding in the car, watching a movie, cooking a meal, raking leaves, or other work-related activities spur conversation. We don’t register them for a course titled “Life Stories of My Grandmother.” No, it is the casual conversations which prompt those life lessons.
I decided to begin writing letters to my grandchildren, telling them stories of the successes and the failures. The most critical part of the story is the faithfulness of God. They will face crushing defeats, and exult in those “I knocked it out of the park” moments, and I want them to know my relationship with God through Jesus the Christ holds me together.. and will be there for them.
Hopefully, they will want some piece of hand thrown pottery, a small piece of furniture, or a painting which reminds them of Gram. But more than that, I want them to remember how I found peace in the darkness and joy in the light because God is real. I want them to remember how I faced challenges with hope and expectation.