your grandmother…2 Timothy 1:5
Monday would have been my Grandma Thelma’s 107th birthday. She’s been gone for 17 years so you would think a fond thought or two would be the regular way her grandchildren would recall the day. But then again, it’s Thelma McClaskey we’re talkin about and she was anything but regular! One of my cousins put a post on Facebook about Grandmas birthday and three days later the comments are still flyin! Each time a family member posts a comment, it creates a half dozen more memories. I have found it absolutely amazing that after 17 years a group of cousins hundreds and hundreds of miles apart can talk for days and not run out of things to say. Grandma simply was one of the most beautiful souls to ever wander this earth. As I’ve read and re-read the conversation I’ve come to the conclusion that we have an amazing hero in our Grandma!
When we hear the word hero we often think of brave folks who do big dangerous jobs to save others. I guess Grandma gave a different definition of the word hero. If you look at all the things that our culture is short on, you’ll come up things like honesty, peacefulness, humility and unselfish service. If we had more of all those things this world would look and feel a lot different! If I were to define what made Grandma a hero, it would boil down to the way she treated others and lived her life demonstrating those things our culture is missing today. Grandma taught more than 20 grandbabies how to live like the kind of hero this world needs and the thing that made her lessons so spectacular…she taught them with such humility she would probably deny the fact that she did anything special at all.
To all those of you who never had the delightful pleasure of meeting my Grandma, allow me to teach you Thelma’s formula for being a hero in a
world that desperately needs some.
Lesson 1 – Serve others; the best stuff, not the leftovers! We all remember fondly her homemade chocolate syrup, cookies, cinnamon rolls and juicy fruit gum. She always had it ready on Sunday in case she had visitors…always! She knew we loved it and she made sure she offered it with love.
Lesson 2- Don’t waste anything and appreciate what you have! She re-used everything from plastic bags and bottles to rain water. She washed off the old tin-foil and it became star-shaped “heat-shields” for her giant Christmas tree lights and the toy cars, motorcycles and tractors stayed in the toy box if they had even a wheel or two that still worked. She taught us that if you “have” you are blessed it has nothing to do with “having the best”…she simply stopped the lesson with if you “have” because the world is full of those who “don’t have” so we are blessed.
Lesson 3 – Kind words, warm hugs and big smiles are the greatest way to share God’s love. She always had lots of all three and she used them regularly! She didn’t tolerate an “ugly tongue”. She told her granddaughters more than once, “pretty is; is pretty does.”
Lesson 4 – Pray, then pray harder and then pray even harder than that! She used to walk circles through her little house praying her Rosary each day. She liked to take care of her body and her soul at the same time! Sunday morning mass was the highlight of the week and it was as automatic as breathing!
Lesson 5 – Work hard and then rest and enjoy life. Grandma raised 8 kids without indoor plumbing. She didn’t have running water or a washing machine until she was nearly 70 years old! There was no point in complaining, that’s just how it was. But when the chores were done, you could find her in her chair catching a KC Royals game on the TV or the radio.
Lesson 6 – Keep your priorities straight! First is faith, second is family. If you do the first two right, nothing else really matters!
She taught us more; so much more and she taught by example…she was a hero indeed! Maybe you have a hero like my Grandma too. I think we could make this world brighter and richer if we tried just a little harder to put the lessons they taught us to work each day.
A Seed To Plant: Pick any one of Grandma’s six lessons and put it in action…God will smile and the world will change!
Blessings on your day!