I was just past eighteen with a car of my own when I decided to take a road trip to visit my grandparents. Just something to do on a summer afternoon. As I expected, they were delighted to see me and seemed especially happy that I had chosen to come to visit them on my own. We usually visited Grandpa and Grandma when aunts, uncles, and their families were there – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and other special days. During those times, I was busy with cousins and never took time to really notice Grandma. She stayed in the kitchen, always busily preparing food for the hungry gang that gathered around their table.
However, on this particular summer day, for the first time I could recall, Grandma and I sat in the living room alone. We chatted about this and that and then without prompting, Grandma told me a story about how she met Grandpa. I listened, watching her smile as she told about riding in a wagon to go to church and how excited she was to see the tall, lanky boy who I now called Grandpa. For the very first time, I saw Grandma as a real person, as a teenaged girl with feelings just like mine.
That afternoon changed my life and my relationship with a young man I was seeing. I opened my heart to Grandma and she listened with no judgement and no direct instructions. There was love, understanding, and a new way of seeing my life and my relationship. To be honest, I cannot tell you why I decided the young man was not right for me, but whatever the reason, Grandma’s love helped me make a very wise choice.
That afternoon was more than fifty-five years ago. Now I’m a grandmother with 13 wonderful grandchildren and a great-grandchild on the way. They all call me Nana and when all the family gets together, the cousins spend most of their time playing, talking, and just like Grandma, I stay busy putting food on the table. But I try to carve out some time for a trip to Starbucks with one of the thirteen (the older ones, of course). We talk about life, jobs, college, relationships and I throw in one of my stories from “way back when.” I want them to know I remember how it feels to want adventure away from home, how it feels to wonder if this guy is Mr. Right. I listen and laugh and cry and smile, hoping they feel my love. I ask questions and watch as they turn the ideas over in their minds. I withhold judgement and let them know that Nana’s heart is a safe place for their secrets, their worries, and their dreams. They also know everything will be covered with fervent prayer. And when they walk away to return home, I hope they will see life with a fresh perspective … and realize that Nana is a real person.
About the Author
Peggy Eby has been a pastor, missionary, leader of women, and counselor for more than 40 years. She has spoken in many nations and all across the United States, encouraging men and women to find their identity, purpose and calling in Christ Jesus. Peggy believes life is to be lived to the full, in the energy and power of the Holy Spirit.
Peggy and her husband, Jim, founded Mission Catalyst International, a missions organization dedicated to training nationals in the Developing World to reach the least-reached people groups with the Gospel.
Peggy and Jim have been married 48 years and have 3 adult children and 12 grandchildren. She recently retired from serving as LifeCare Coordinator for The Ark Church in Conroe, Texas, a ministry of biblical guidance, counseling, and Christ-centered recovery. Presently, Peggy and Jim live in London, England, where Peggy assists Pastor Harold Presley at Fountain of Life Church, and Jim continues to travel with the ministry of Mission Catalyst International.