October has been a very busy and fantastic month for our family. And no, it’s not because I had another birthday. I’d rather not have any more birthdays and I’ve been wishing that since I was seventeen. Whoever invented the tale that blowing out birthday candles makes a wish come true was deluded.
What happened is this; my brother-in-law got married. His wedding was beautiful, almost as beautiful as his bride, and was also the catalyst for the other things making this October so great. My wife’s sister and their family came all the way out from California, and her Grandma from distant North Dakota. My wife hasn’t seen them for a couple years, making this October almost magical for her.
Except for Grandma’s trip to the IMAX Theater, which was too loud, she seems to be having a good time. First of course was attending her grandson’s wedding. She’s also raked leaves in her son’s yard (her son is my wife’s father), shopped for clothes with her daughter-in-law at a local mission store called The Samaritan Center, and came to our house for nice visits and working puzzles. Grandma was delighted to tour the university campus where her son works. She’s a country girl and enjoys anything where family is around.
I for one enjoy her soft spoken humor and loving ways. Grandma likes to hug and make sure people know she loves them. A life of hard farm work has not made her a hard woman. She’s just as soft hearted as her gentle voice implies.
For years Grandma has been a devoted Christian. Her Bible study is a simple approach and it’s her habit to read a verse every day from three versions, write them down, and then journal what she learns from them. She has several notebooks painstakingly filled with her handwriting. They’re a testament to her years of walking with a God she loves.
Although Grandma came here to witness her grandson’s wedding, she had something in mind with her Bible study notebooks as well.
On a recent Saturday, Grandma asked that her grandchildren and their spouses be with her for something special. Of course they were all happy to. Everyone loves to be with Grandma. The only reason I wasn’t there is I had to work. Now that I know what she did, I wish I’d called in and been with them instead.
When they were all together, Grandma explained that when she was a child she couldn’t understand what “studying” really was. To her it was just reading. Then she asked each of her grandchildren what studying was to them. Grandma listened to their answers, something she is very good at. After they had all given their response, she then told them why she studies the way she does now. For her, hand copying the verses from three translations made it more understandable. After writing them out in one of her notebooks, she would then read the verses through and write commentary. Her love for God and her deep desire to understand what the Good Book teaches led to this personal format.
Grandma continued by saying, “This worship book, hand copied, is my book to you.” Giving one of her Bible study notebooks to each grandchild and their spouse in turn, she named them individually. “Hand delivered, that I hand to you!”
There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
Every page, every verse, and every word in those books hold a piece of Grandma. As years passed along, Grandma earnestly sought the will of her God with these tools. They contain wisdom she discovered and is now passed on to my wife and her brother and sister. That’s priceless treasure enough, but what truly glows is that these copied verses and her sincere response to them are possessed with her love. These Bible study books Grandma has written for herself contain her heart, poured into the pages through ink from a pen. Each of her grandchildren now has a piece of their Grandma’s heart within easy reach…for as long as they live.
And from now on, despite the fact my birthday is still in this month, October will have a special sense of fondness because it is touched by Grandma.