Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Graduation & Weeds

CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©

I went to see a man who was undergoing chemo. It was about mid-afternoon. He said, “I’ve been thinking for several hours about taking a shower.” That’s one of the worst things about chemotherapy, the fatigue. Thinking about doing something is about as far as you can get on most days.

So it was with me. I was about six months into the 13 months of my chemotherapy. I was able to do one thing a day. I never chose pulling weeds as my one thing.

So a lady from church was sitting on the walkway to our house, pulling the weeds from the flower beds along the walk. She was good at it. She was about seventy, so she’d had lots of experiences with weeds. I decided my one thing for the day would be to get up and go out to thank her.

I had another motive to talk with her. I knew that her grandson, in his early twenties, had moved in with her and her husband, come from another state to do so. He was deep into drug addiction and had been disowned by his parents and every rehab facility in several states. What do you do when no one else will have you? You go to Grandma’s.

“Everybody says we’re crazy,” she said. “Nobody else has been able to help him. Why could we? We’re old. But that’s the point. I don’t have much to look forward to, but I have a lot to look back at. I remember him when I held him in my arms, when I rocked him when he cried, when we played in the sand box, when I taught him how to ride a bike. I can’t give up on all those memories.”

I was glad my one thing that day was listening to her memories, and rejoicing in her commitment.  

I understood what she was saying, but not really. I didn’t have grandchildren yet.

Now, though, I understand. Last night my first grandchild graduated from high school. She is beautiful. Last month she was prom queen. Last night she was awarded honors and scholarships. I watched her every move with love and pride, with rejoicing for what she will become, but mostly with memories of what we have shared in the past.

But I also scanned up and down the rows of the other graduates, looking for that kid who is not beautiful, who received no honors or awards or scholarships, the one who will be tempted to make wrong decisions and take wrong turns. I prayed for him, that he will have a grandma who knows how to pull weeds…

John Robert McFarland

The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.]

You don’t have to bookmark or favorite the CIW URL to return here. Just Google Christ In Winter and it will show up at the top of the page.

I have also started an author blog, about writing, in preparation for the publication, by Black Opal Books, of my novel, VETS, in late 2014 or early 2015.

I tweet as yooper1721.

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