Category Archives for "Grandma"

Stretching To The Finish

July 2013 571

During our vacation to the Midwest, we had an opportunity to visit my Grandma (I’ve written about her before – click here.)

It wasn’t a very long visit.  I think we were at the nursing home where she lives for a little more than two hours.  When we came into her room, she immediately knew who we were.  She mentioned my name and our kids names, and she had to ask for a little help with Leanne’s name (although it was clear that she knew who she was).

If you remember, Grandma is 93 years old.  Physically, she’s been struggling for many years thanks to the pain of arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and a broken arm.  Only in the last few years has she started to fail mentally.  Grandma was always the sharpest person in the family.  She could remember details better than anyone else in the family about people, places, and things from the past.  She skipped two grades in school.  Needless to say, this has been the hardest part of the aging process for her and for the rest of the family.  She simply can’t keep all the details of life straight in her head any longer.

All in all, it was a pretty good visit with Grandma.  While the staff at the nursing home indicated that she wasn’t having the greatest day, she seemed to be doing pretty well compared to my visit with Grandma a month ago.

There is the moment during our visit that I will always remember.

Grandma and Grandpa always had a strong faith.  I remember doing a morning devotion with them and praying for missionaries and people groups from around the world.  As we were getting ready to leave, Leanne suggested that we pray.  I prayed first and somewhat expected that to be it, but Grandma picked up right where I left off.  Her prayer was powerful.  Despite her physical and mental ailments, she clearly is in great shape spiritually.

Grandma’s prayer and our visit was a great reminder that God isn’t through with us.  While Grandma would prefer to be in heaven with Grandpa and God, she continues to demonstrate a growing faith.  It’s easy to think that we’ve arrived – that we’ve grown as much as we possibly can physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Grandma reminded me that spiritual growth is a journey that continues throughout our lives.

I don’t have any idea how long I will live.  I could live until 50, until 75, or even until 100.  I want to be remembered as someone who continues to STRETCH and grow.  I want to grow physically (not in size), and I want to continue to grow mentally.  But most of all I want to STRETCH and grow spiritually.

May our journeys through life be marked by spiritual STRETCHING!  May our faith be a testament to those around us and to those who come behind us.  Thank you, Grandma, for your STRETCHING example!

Who in your life has reminded you to keep on STRETCHING?  Who in your life has faith that moves mountains?

Say What You Need To Say

Last week, I was in the Chicago area for implementation training and brainstorming for a new company initiative.  I haven’t been out to our home office for a few years and to be honest I wasn’t crazy about leaving my wife and kids for the better part of a week.

The time at the Chicago area office went very well, but the highlight of the trip was my visit with my Grandma Stolpe.  Grandma will turn 92 in early April.  Recently, her health hasn’t been great.  Many in my family wondered if she would make it past the Christmas holidays.

It had been a few years since we last visited in person, so it was real special when I walked through the doors of the nursing home where she lives and I saw her waiting for me to arrive.  We ate dinner together in their cafeteria, and we visited for a while back in her room.  Though it had been three and a half years since or last face-to-face visit, it seemed like we just saw each other last week.

My Aunt Elaine and Uncle Max stopped by for the last hour of our visit.  We talked more and shared details about our families.  We also talked about memories and family traditions.

A few times, Grandma mentioned that she was ready for heaven whenever God decided it was time.  She expressed hope that it wouldn’t be much longer.  It was clear that she was content with the life she had lived and hopeful for the future in heaven.

I will remember a few details about this visit:  Grandma’s Bible on her nightstand, her family tree of pictures on the wall above her bed, her thoughts on the economy and politics, and her joy in spending time with me (her oldest grandson).

I don’t know when or if I will see Grandma again on this side of eternity.  As we said our goodbyes (which took a while), I hugged Grandma, and I told her I loved her.  She reciprocated as only a small 91-year-old women could with a broken arm.  She said, “I love you too, Jon.  Thank you so much for the visit.”

As I walked to my car, I sniffled a bit.  I’m not sure I’ll have that chance again.  The visit was great – and the goodbye was perfect whether it was the last or not.

Driving back to my hotel that night, I heard the song “Say What You Need to Say” by John Mayer.  The song talks about saying what needs to be said – not regretting holding back – making sure things are right with our loved ones and that we express our love, appreciation, and respect for each other.

I said what I needed to say.

Is everything good between you and your family and friends or is there something you need to say?