Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A 100th Birthday Reflection

Grandma Ds 100 birthday 036 Sunday was my wife's grandmother's 100th birthday. She lives in a care facility in Kansas City. Edith is a godly woman who has served her Lord, her family and her church in many many ways. She has been a quiet woman for the most part. She was the church treasurer for many, many years (there is a special place in heaven for church treasurers). She has opinions, but doesn't feel they necessarily need to be shared with everyone.

But we are not really doing much to celebrate this 100th birthday. She is too weak to tolerate much celebration. If she gets her hair done, it exhausts her for the rest of the day. She sleeps much of the time. Her only wish was that her son & daughter (my mother in law) come with their spouses and bring her Chinese food. She may not each much, and she may fall asleep before the meal is done, but she wants a quiet meal with her two children. All of her grandchildren (us included) put together some visual greeting whether it is a photo or a video holding signs wishing her a happy 100th. She is deaf and could not hear if we verbally wished her a happy birthday, so we are doing it in written format. Loretta's brother has put it together in video format and it was shared with her.

Grandma Edith often wishes she wasn't turning 100. She wishes she was with her Lord and her husband Ed (my wife's grandfather). Ed only heard me preach one time before he died and his only comment was that it was way too long ("If it can't be said in 20 minutes, it doesn't need to be said!").

With all respect, I disagree with Ed. Length and quality are measuring apples and oranges. Both a life and a sermon can have one or the other quality, or both, or neither. I have been enthralled by some sermons (rare though they may be) that have stretched over an hour. On the other hand, some of the most excruciating sermons I can remember have been bad short ones. And the same is true of a life. Many a newborn or young child has died. Some, even in their short life, have left those who knew them blessed and better. Some have lived tragic, painful, short lives.

Fortunately, Grand-ma Edith has had both...a quality life and a long life. I wish Grandma Edith a blessed 100th. We have no idea how much longer she will be with us, but soon she will taste eternal life that is of higher quality AND length than anything we can imagine here.

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