Is there anything better than the wisdom of a loving Grandmother when you’re having a rough day?
I had a really strong memory trigger the other night about a special “grandma” memory. One that included some advice that’s repeatedly impacted my life since the age of 8 when she shared it with me!
So I was waiting in the car, one rainy night, waiting for one of my daughters who was having an interview. The memory triggered as I listened to the rain and watched a single drop wiggle its way down the window (fade to black and white for the late 70’s memory effect 😉 )…
I was in grade two or three at the time, and every day for lunch my brothers and I would walk to my grandma’s for lunch. We’d watch part of The Uncle Bobby Show and the Flintstones while sitting on their orange and brown fabric furniture, with our plates on TV trays. Quite the modern luxury at the time.
Oftentimes, I’d sit in kitchen with my “Grandma Evie” and we’d have conversations while she prepared lunch.
This one day, it was dark and drizzly and my brothers must have left ahead of me. We sometimes walked separately; in those days you could be out all day long on a Saturday and so long as you were home when the street lights came on there were no worries if you didn’t call your parents. Anyway, some kid put a worm in my – very, very long – hair. Let me just say, trying to get a worm OUT of your hair is no easy task. In fact, the harder you try, the more of a gruesome mess it becomes!
Needless to say, I was not happy.
Grandma noticed, and in all her wise loveliness, she knew the first course of action was the making of my Favourite Lunch: tomato soup and a peanut butter and lettuce sandwich! Sounds weird, I know. It’s a crunchy, creamy heaven though… fluffy white bread, creamy peanut butter, and the crispiest pieces of iceberg lettuce (or head lettuce as she called it) that you can get.
It didn’t work. I was still a big grumpy-pants and I probably had a sour look on my face because she took me by the hand to the big window beside her piano (the one where we sat and I watched her play so many times).
She put her arm on my shoulder and said, “Jenny, what do you see?”
Me, pouty face, “Rain, dark clouds…”
“Close your eyes. Now what do you see?” her in her calmest, loving Grandma voice.
Cheekier than ever with my eyes closed. “Nothing! How can I see anything with my eyes closed?”
Pure gentle wisdom: “Don’t see with your eyes, see with your heart.”
While I didn’t get the full impact as an eight year old, it diffused my mood. More importantly, I’ve remembered that lesson many, many times in my life.
She explained that there is always something beautiful, something good and positive to be found in EVERY situation, if we just take the time to look for it, it’s always there.
Over the years I questioned how there could possibly be good in certain painful situations, challenging situations, hurtful and unkind situations. But what I began to learn was that it was oftentimes the LESSON where the beauty was to be found, in the wisdom GAINED by getting through difficulties, challenges and all out traumatic times. The gift was often in getting past situations and becoming a better person for it. And in helping others do the same.
Grandma had such a grace about her. She rarely complained or judged. She really did CHOOSE to seek positivity and see beautiful things amidst any darkness. She was such a container of strength and love for me that day. She easily could have lectured me (rightfully) on my mood and my lack of gratitude, but instead she offered me something else. By being an example of it, she offered me a life-changing opportunity to decide to SEE from a different perspective, if I chose to.
We’ll never know the extent of the impact we have and have had on others, but what I DO KNOW FOR SURE is that life is sweeter when we take time to see with our hearts.
I believe in you.
Fearlessly live an extraordinary life.