Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sage Wisdom

Today's Word:
Deuteronomy 4:1-9 (Moses reintroduces the Law to the Israelites, about to enter the Promised Land)
Psalm 147:12-20 (Praise the Lord, Jerusalem; for God has blessed you richly)
Matthew 5:17-19 ("I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it")

It seems I have run into a host of questions lately, prompted by my writing. Why have I done so? What do I hope to achieve by it? I suppose those are the root questions; yet there are others. If God is everywhere, why do so many speak of our separation from him? Does what I do represent my authentic self, or is it to impress others?

The best answer to all the above is, "I don't know."

Really, I don't. I have all sorts of rationale that drew me into writing, something I find difficult at times. Still, I cannot profess to know all the answers. If I did, I might be wealthy; but more likely, I'd be dead. Despite all the clamoring among ourselves to seek expert wisdom, that wisdom is often filled with truth we don't want to hear. I believe that now I'm being more of my authentic self; the 'me' as God created me, but...

I cannot profess to be a risk-taker. Even though we all take risks daily by the very fact that we're breathing, I don't live "on the edge" or anywhere near it.

While I profess to be Christian, I cannot profess to be a perfect one under all the iotas and jots that form the complexities of the Law. Nor should I. If we're doing our best, God meets us where we are.

When you are trying to wrap your arms around the idiosyncracies of life, you tend to lean toward the closest thing you can to a sage or a wise woman, or a very close friend, right? Someone who knows you rather well and will give you the straight story? Sure, you do.

I dare say I'm not brave enough; in addition, in my youth I was probably just impetuous enough not to admit I could use some sage advice or direction.

Knowing what I do now, I would have liked to have picked my grandmother's brain a bit more. It's not as easy as it would have been, for she passed into eternal life four years ago yesterday. She was less than three months away from her 98th birthday at the time.

She was a hard worker all her life. I don't have the exact date she married my grandfather, but I'm figuring they wed in 1930 - my father was born the following year. Roughly ten years into their marriage, my grandfather died; leaving her to raise her two sons as a single mother. She worked for AT&T (the OLD one, which included Illinois Bell), and somehow managed to juggle everything around.

She knew the value of cleanliness - she is the only woman I know who could clean the decorative decal off a table lamp. She was a master of the cleaning rag; she used Comet like Michael Constantine used Windex in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." In her heyday, nothing missed her eye.

She knew, like most Italian women of the time, that the way to an Italian man's heart was through his stomach. She actually offered us authentic ethnic cuisine which is something I would not have experienced for a long time on my own had it not been for her. My mom's cooking was fine - it just wasn't all that Italian.

Like my dear wife, she did not 'suffer fools gladly.' She was polite, but she had plenty to say and knew when and how to say it.

It's been four years, but I still sense her spiritual presence in my home at times. I believe I love that. Yes, with that presence comes reminders of things she might observe and talk about were she still living, but that is part of the package. Because of her influence, past and present, I have done good things I might not have thought to do otherwise.

I can't remember if I ever properly thanked her or told her I loved her for all this, but I sense she knows in the end I appreciated everything. I still do.

When my dad and uncle started the process of settling her estate, her twelve grandchildren (including me) were given the opportunity to have something of hers - furniture from her home, pictures, stuff that would otherwise ultimately be sold. I took two plants; the only living things she had. It was by and large one of the better decisions I've made in life.

No comments:

Post a Comment