Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bridge builders

My Grandparents are divorced. And have been since before I was born. In fact, around the time I was born, my Grandpa was getting remarried and starting a whole new life with a new family. Most people when getting remarried embrace the previous family, but for whatever reason, my Grandpa's wife did not embrace his family and she became just that. Grandpa's wife.

To put it mildly, Grandpa's wife didn't like us. We weren't allowed to visit, come in her house, or hardly speak to my Grandpa. He'd have to sneak around to see us, but, because of past mistakes and a whole lot of "yucky" things he hardly came around. I think it was just easier that way. For everyone.

My Grandpa and his wife lived a WHOLE block away growing up and we'd wave from our car when we'd go past his house.

I don't know much about my Grandpa's wife. In fact, I know 3 things about her.
1. She loved flowers.
2. She loved cats.
3. She didn't like us.

That's about it. But, she loved flowers and her cat. Loved them. In the Spring of the year she's be out in her flower beds taking such good care of them. They owned almost a city lot and her yard had the most beautiful flowers you would imagine. There she'd be, with her cat...taking care of her flowers. All summer long, she's be outside. Of course, we were not allowed to touch foot in her yard, but from the road her flowers could win awards.

Fast forward to my adulthood and about 10 years ago we get a knock on the door. It's my Grandpa and his wife. She had just received news they found a tumor in her brain and didn't give her long to live. Months later, she died.

This Spring, I asked Grandpa if he would let me dug up some of her flowers in their yard. He told me to take all of them. He's never home and because of work is gone most of the time. Easter Sunday he took me over to his yard and told me what all the flowers, trees, and berries were. I've spend 2 mornings over there digging up flowers and bushes and greenery and I can't help but think about how funny and strange life is.

I am a terrible gardner. Grandpa's wife was one of the best I know. Anything would grow for her. She despised us...yet, here I am. Getting ready to take care of HER flowers. One of her biggest investments, and passions...her love and how she spent most of her summer days...and because she's gone--her husband's Granddaughter steps up to take them over. It felt weird digging in the dirt where she'd been. And it got me thinking....

There are wall builders and bridge builders.

And my Mama always said our family was to be bridge builders. God always wants us reaching out. Accepting others and building bridges to everyone we meet. Walls were not allowed.

It's why growing up I wasn't allowed to just have 1 best friend. I had many.

It's also why I go to the Chiropractor and Doctor. God won't let me just go to one. Just when I think adjustments are the only way to go--God allows me to have Gallstones and I land in the hospital for 9 days. And just when I think I will just trust a Dr. my hips go out and I'm calling my Chiro!

It's why when you look at my friends today they are ALL different. Some are single. Some are stay at home moms. Some work outside the home--some choose to! Some believe in things I'd never even consider to believe in...and others, we have similar beliefs.

God wants each of us to be bridge builders....and let me tell ya...sometimes it's hard. Not easy. And annoying. Sometimes you really only want that ONE BFF--but God in His great wisdom wants us to build bridges and not burn them.

It's also why when Grandpa's wife was in her final months of life, it was my mom that built a bridge and took care of my Grandpa's wife. Despite ALL the ugly from years past, my mom had enough of Jesus in her to care for a dying woman who at some point in her life hated us all.

And so, today, I choose to be a bridge builder. Like my Mama. Because, it's what Jesus calls EACH of us to do. After all, when you are gone, you never know who's going to be taking over your mission. So today...build a bridge and THANK Jesus for placing the people in your life.

So, Happy Bridge Building!


alignaCristina from SomekindofParadise said...

Great post rachel!! :)

Jamie Willow said...

what a story. I can't imagine what that must have been like growing up...I love that your mom got the chance to build that bridge. I wonder if your grandpa's wife figured out how much she had lost out on?
enjoy her garden, even those we have little in common with and can't understand, can share the love of beauty! and that's a beautiful thing.

thanks for sharing!

Laura Chapman said...

I LOVE this!

Laura Chapman said...

I LOVE this!