“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope.For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus…Therefore, comfort one another with these words”I Thessalonians 4:13If ever there was a more poignant time to write about “post tenebras, lux”, that time is now. Having just received the phone call earlier this evening that one of the most precious women in my life, my great-grandmother, passed from this life in a world of darkness to a new life in a world of Light, I am most fully aware of the highest implications of this phrase.As you read the above paragraph you may have thought to yourself, “Oh, she must have lost her mother”, (unless you follow me on FB) as you saw the words “most precious women”. I must say in all honesty, I have never met anyone that had the same relationship with their great-grandmother as I had with mine.Virginia Robertson was born in 1907 in Forest, VA. She was a young mother in the Great Depression with 6 kids. She saw every fashion fad that swept up the nation in its current – everything from Victorian style dresses her mom wore to flapper dresses she wore to poodle skirts her daughters wore to leg warmers her grandkids wore to stone-washed high-waisted jeans and tank tops her great-grandkids wore to loud graphic t-shirts her great-great-grandkids wear (kid-appropriate, I promise: mostly super-hero graphics). She has lived on and owned her property of 103 acres since she was married. She outlived her oldest son, Herbert Robertson, who died of leukemia when she was 102 years old.Grandma was the one and only truly stability in my life. I moved around growing up, and even after marrying and moving some more, my parents have even continued to move. The only place that I could always go back to that was always the same (although various dogs came and went) was Great-Grandma’s house. She had this beautiful (in my eyes) old farmhouse surrounded by beautiful flower gardens she planted and tended herself at the end of a tree-lined gravel drive. She had old antique trunks everywhere filled with old clothes, vintage paper dolls (we just recently discovered at our last visit), and my favorite: ginormous quilted down pillows.Grandma’s house was a very special place, and it always will be. I will never forget walking down the lane to the barn with my dad and great-uncle Earl (who never left home and still lives there) and swinging on the huge barn gate moo-ing at the cows. I’ll never forget sledding in the forest being pulled behind the tractor, then coming inside for hot cocoa on the stove. I’ll never forget the time she made dinner for us – a (cough) delicious BOILED STEAK and limp asparagus, freshly picked from the side of her lane leading down to the barn. I treasure the memories of spending time out there because I wanted to, not because I had to. I cherish the handmade beaded angel Christmas ornaments she made for me when I was 11 that have hung at the top of my tree every single year I’ve had them. This year, they will not only remind me of the beautiful woman God gave me as a great-grandmother, they will create a vision in my head of her dancing with the angels. Maybe God saved her a spot next to the crystal sea for her to plant and tend to her beautiful flowers.My great-grandmother is not just a memory. She has left a living legacy in each of our hearts. I can see her smile sheepishly as she finally hears those words I long to hear one day: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Well done, Virginia. Rejoice in your Savior!Although we will grieve, we will not grieve as those who have no hope…We will rejoice.
One room in her house was filled with every family picture imaginable. Every relative of hers, every descendant, every baby, senior, marriage and family picture from each descendant was put in a frame on display. There was a wood stove in nearly every room of the house roaring with fire to keep us more than cozy-warm in the winter, and an AC window unit on her back screened-in porch where she pretty much lived in her giant comfy easy chair – right next to the washer and dryer, with a clothesline hanging overhead.