How do we find story characters? From imagination? Or observing friends and family? We love relatives, but probably have a few who belong in books. My dad’s mother was hardworking, intelligent, and after surviving Depression-era hardships, appreciated money’s value. My grandfather, her husband, was resourceful, inventive, but quiet-spoken. He only got involved when problems escalated. His widowed mother lived at the other side of their farm in a redeemed chicken coop bordered by bright flowerbeds. A jaunty Welcome sign crowned the bridge crossing the little creek.
Since utilities aren’t free, Grandma charged Great-grandma $.03 actual cost for every tub of washing machine water used. When I turned 12, Great Grandma got sick. The choice was the expensive town hospital. Or the county hospital free for low-income folks with 12 patients in each ward. When I hiked there after school, Great-Grandma had me read favorite Bible chapters, ending with I Cor. 15. She resurrected before my eyes.
Around Mother ’s Day, she was hospitalized again. I had no gift. But two blocks away a gas station’s grand opening offered free baby orchids with fill-ups. I approached the owner, hemming, hawing, and shuffling feet, describing my wonderful great-grandma. “Could I please have one baby orchid for her?”
“Here, kid. Take a dozen.” He handed me a box, one for each worn woman in the ward. Great-grandma beamed.
Years later I was in college five hours away when a letter announced she was in the county hospital in her final illness. Fuming, I soon experienced a raging headache. Storming, I walked outside, The more I fumed, the worse my head pounded. But when I prayed. And added tears. The headache subsided. When I fumed again, the headache returned. After re-committing Great-grandma to God, I felt better. That headache came and went, came and went, staying away when I surrendered her care to God. I couldn’t rush to her side, and she wouldn’t want me to. My role was to pray.
I try to remember that principle, and not let emotions dictate actions--or reactions.
Meanwhile, Dad’s mom worked hard and accomplished lots, but worried much and died young. Can emotions affect us that much? Maybe. But God also can help us understand and gain wisdom. While learning to let Him carry the load.What about you? Do any relatives belong in books? Do some family situations produce headaches? Let them teach us wisdom.