Growing up, I remember having to leave early from North Charleston to get to Johns Island in time to pick up my Great-grandmother Bessie for church. My mom would always be in drill sergeant mode to get us all moving so that we would get to her in time because if not, my 90-something year old grandmother would virtually walk to church if we didn’t get there in time. As a matter of fact, when we would pull in to the field where my relatives stayed, she was already half way out of the door. My great grandmother would never miss out on the opportunity to go to church to serve and worship. She was a relentless Christian and she had no problems declaring who was in control of her life and prosperity…even in confidently belting out hymns in the middle of the Pastor’s weekly sermons.
That will to simply be in the grace of God….carried her over 4 generations of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great great-grandchildren. When she passed away, Bessie was 106 years old. She witnessed the growth of this country from the very root of it post-slavery uprisings. Every major US event…Light-bulbs, Televisions, both World Wars, civil right movements , Man on the moon, Computers and the internet….she has seen it all. God provided a conduit for her to walk through all of these significant events in our culture. It would be in those twilight years that I realized just what was the key to it all for her…she never…NEVER…not even once complained. At that stage in natural life, you are fragile, your mind’s cache overloading from all that you’ve had to retain over multiple decades and your body at a state of merciful repose after having to be taken from one plateau to the next. Despite all of the erosion that I’m sure comes with an older you, she would never concede to complaining…and it was always refreshing to see that. It was amazing to see God carry her such a long way simply on the faith that she had him to pull her through. She never gave any undue power to adversity.
Today…on the same day recognized as the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr…she was born…as a matter of fact she was already 26 when he was born. I take from the mark of both that life can be either short or long, but the key to living it happily is to maintain faith in your purpose and doing so without complaint. Never think about the terrain, your age, strengths and weaknesses, but simply live for God. My grandmother didn’t lift weights, or stop eating fried food at a cerain age…she lived her life intent on serving God…if it got her to 106 what will it do for you?
I love you Grandma…Your legacy is the root of our illustrious family tree. Through God, there is you, and through you, there is us. Rest in Power. Job Well Done.