One year ago today, March 20, 2016, I was blessed enough to be standing in a hospital room with my grandma when a doctor came in and gave us some devastating news. You may be wondering how I could consider that a blessing. When you read on, you will understand. I never imaged when I awoke that morning that I would be told that my grandma’s life was coming to an end. I have thought a lot about that day over the past year. I have thought about what I should have said or what I should have done.
There really was nothing for me to say or do. I wasn’t placed there to be a comfort to anyone, especially my grandma. She had learned from living her life that her comfort came from God. I wasn’t there to comfort my mom and aunt as they received the news, because my grandma was there to comfort them. As strange as it may sound, I was there to be an observer. I was there to take in the beauty of the moment and see one more time, firsthand, what peace and trust in God can do for all of us. I was placed there to tell the story and to apply the lessons I learned to my own life.
I am so thankful for that opportunity. Again, I know that may seem like an odd thing to say, but it was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. To be present when one of the most precious people God ever placed in my life was told that the end was coming is something that I will always be grateful for. Knowing that I was blessed enough to be able to look in my grandma’s eyes when she was told that she had terminal cancer and there was nothing that could be done was a gift. I got to hold her hand and see her bright smile looking back at me.
You see, my grandma and I didn’t need to say anything in that moment. We had the ability to say so much without saying a word. My grandma used to say that she didn’t have to hear what I was thinking; she only had to look at my eyes. I guess the same was true for me. When I looked in my grandma’s eyes that day, I knew all I needed to know. When I looked in my grandma’s eyes as the doctor was explaining everything, I saw love in my grandma’s eyes. I saw trust in her eyes, but most of all I saw peace. She was not afraid; she was comforted. She was not sad; she was at peace. Of course that is what I had come to expect from her. She had lived 90 years, and she had seen the worst parts of life and she had seen the best parts of life. God had taught her long ago that we grow in the valleys, and she willingly walked into the valley that day knowing that God would teach her something and knowing that she would be a witness to all of us about how to deal with the valley of death.
I do not think that is was a coincidence that my grandma’s life began to come to an end on the first day of spring. To me, it was God’s way of saying, “Ruth is getting ready for a new life.” He was saying that life never really comes to an end and that spring is the perfect time to begin again. I am not sure if anyone else understood the significance of that day being chosen. I am not even certain if my grandma understood and to be honest, I did not understand until weeks later.
This just proves to me that God always has a plan and His plans are perfect. He has strategically planned out all of our lives, and He understands how perfect His timing is. We have trouble understanding His timing, but He always knows what is best for us. That day was really not the end of anything. Sure it signaled the end of my grandma’s earthly life, but it also signaled the beginning of her eternal life. It is not a day to be mourned; it is a day to be celebrated. Without that day, many people in our family would not have had the opportunity to spend a little more time with my grandma. Without that day, the miracles that God had yet to perform for my grandma would not have been shown to her. Without that day, the prayers that she had been praying for years could not have been answered. So to me, that day will always be a beautiful day and a very precious gift that I will cling to for the rest of my life.
God chose me to be in that hospital room when my grandma was told that her life was coming to an end. He chose me to get to look into her eyes as she received that news, and He chose me to get to hold her hand in the minutes after the news was delivered. I am not sure why He chose me. I certainly did not deserve to get to be a witness to such a miraculous event, but I certainly am thankful that He did.
So today, I choose to mark this anniversary with gratitude and love in my heart. I choose to see this day, not as the anniversary of the end of something, but as the anniversary of the beginning of something because like the title of this post says, “The Beginning Is the End and the End Is the Beginning.” When I really think about that and I let gratitude fill my heart, I feel such peace and PEACE MATTERS!
My grandma loved the Gaithers and this was one of her favorite songs. If you listen closely, you can almost hear her singing along.