Usually, on this date every year the same thing happens. My mom or dad call me early in the morning to remind me it's my grandmother's birthday. In turn, I would call my brother and we'd figure out which florist to call and order flowers so that it would look like we knew it was today all along. Then Johanna and I would call Mea, that's what we call my grandmother, and wish her a happy birthday. She'd thank us for the flowers, and being her always gracious self she'd go on about how beautiful they were. But the highlight for her wouldn't be the flowers. It would be getting to talk to the grandkids she loved so much...the grandsons she took pride in and the granddaughter-in-laws she adored. For her, that would have been her real birthday present.
But like I said...that's what I would usually do today. But not this time. My grandmother passed away suddenly back in April. What started out as a stomach ache ended up being a major health issue that took her life before any of us were ready for her to go. And to be really honest, I miss my Mea. Some days it's better than others...and then there are days like today when I'd give just about anything in the world to have to make that emergency phone call to the florist to order flowers for her birthday. On days like today, I'd love the chance to be able to call her and promise that we were coming home to visit soon...And that when we did, we'd go out to eat to celebrate her birthday and make my dad buy dinner for everyone!
But the reality is that isn't possible. So what do I do? Well, I had the great honor of preaching my grandmother's funeral. During that service I talked about the legacy of love and life and faith that my grandmother had invested in those of us she loved. I have no doubt she's in heaven now in the presence of Christ because of her devout faith in his love and forgiveness. So today I do my best to live in a way that honors and continues that legacy. What I can do is treat people graciously because that's what she taught me. I can laugh at life because I saw her do it time and again. And I can love my family and friends because in my grandmother's life I saw her pour out love day after day after day to the people in her life. I can't order flowers today or call Mea up on the phone. I'd really love to. Somedays I think it would just make everything better if I could. But what I can do is seek to live out the legacy of love and faith she poured into her family. So today that's what I did. It doesn't take the place of that phone call I'd love to make...but I know it'd make her smile just the same.