Live a life of love…
A Safe Place to Land
Alice wasn't the only one to have a wonderland…I had one too. Or at least that's what I used to call it. In actuality, my wonderland was a modest little house that belonged to my grandparents, nestled in the Appalachian foothills, along the banks of the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania.
Although the setting was idyllic to a little girl with a romantic heart, it was the warmth and unconditional love that my grandparents showed to my sister and me, that made summers spent in PA such a refuge. During our parent's strained 19-year marriage, my sister, Sherri, and I learned to cope in our own unique ways; her through escape, me by assuming the role of burden-bearer. But ahh…when we drove "over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house"…our emotional 'owies' were forgotten for a time and our spirits set free.
The very first place my sis' and I would head, after a long 20-hour road trip, was to our Grandma's pantry. There we would find all of our favorite things stocked well in advance of our coming. Those small, seemingly inconsequential treats stacked in Grandma's cupboard were a source of security to us; they told us that we were not only expected, we were known and loved
It was clear from the onset that my Grandma's love language was serving. If she wasn't washing our clothes or bandaging a skinned knee, you could find her puttering in her kitchen. There she'd be, lovingly baking cookies, or packing a lunchbox with sandwiches and a thermos of chocolate milk for one of our many hikes up into the mountains. Then, after tucking us all safely in our beds at night, Grandma would work the graveyard shift at a local nursing home where she tenderly cared for dozens of frail, white-haired ladies. My Grandma taught me what a compassionate, giving heart looks like and provided my sis' and me with a safe place to land.
Whether my Grandpa was outside working in the yard or tinkering in his shed on some project or other, a merry little tune could usually be heard coming from his direction. No matter how menial or tiresome the job may have been, I learned by watching my Grandpa, that the best way to approach any task is to 'whistle while you work'. Despite his endless list of chores, however, Grandpa made time to get out and enjoy God's creation. With his walking stick in hand, he led my Grandma, my mom, and my sis' and me on many a memory-making expedition through the mountains and taught us the value behind the words, "take a hike". Out there on those trails, my Grandpa opened my eyes to a whole new way of seeing…he taught me to keep my eyes open for glimpses of God all along life's way.
I will be forever grateful to my grandparents; their legacy of love has been indelibly written on the pages of my heart.
May it be said of me, that I loved like that, Lord!