Wednesday, 6 July 2016

7 Layer Chocolate Cake - Life Lessons We Should Learn from Grandma

Mary Frances Grimes, my grandmother, went to be with Jesus on Saturday.  Today we had her funeral.  This is my tribute to her.  Rest in Peace Grandma!  Well done good and faithful servant. Enter in to your Master's joy!

A 7 Layer Chocolate Cake - Life Lessons We Can Learn From Grandma

Chances are if you are in this room, then you are familiar with the fact that one of Grandma’s favorite things to do was cook.  It’s also likely that at some point in time you have eaten some of her famous 7 Layer Chocolate Cake.

Like the layers in the cake she always brought to reunions and holiday gatherings, there were many layers of lessons that we can all take away from my Grandma’s life. 

The 1st layer is the one that was most important to Grandma and has also become the most important to me as well.  The foundation of everything she was and the life she lived was her love for God.  I remember going to stay with Grandma as a child.  I remember her reading her Bible. It was marked and highlighted with care.  It was worn from use.  The words went from the pages into her heart and made her the woman that we all knew and loved.  I saw her pray beside her bed every night before we would go to sleep.  I couldn’t always hear or understand the words that she was saying, but there is no doubt in my mind that many were for me…and many were for you.  We will all do better if we make God our foundational layer as well.

The 2nd layer we can take away from Grandma’s life is to love our family.  Passionately, boldly, unwaveringly.  Grandma loved each of us.  As different as we are, as many mistakes as we have all made (some more than others though I won’t name names), never once have we doubted that Grandma loved us.  She has always been there for us.  Sitting at a dance recital, a graduation ceremony, a wedding.  Grandma was present.  In today’s world, someone can be at a particular place or time, but still not be present.  Today we get distracted with smart phones and TV.  When you were with Grandma, she was present.  There in the moment with you.  She made you feel important and loved.  That is something I’d like to learn from and make sure in my life and with my family and friends, I’m there…100% and that they know they are important. This is how we should love our family.

The 3rd layer we can take away from Grandma’s life is her love for others.   As I drove from SC on Saturday, I was thinking about legacy.  I guess for some that means something grand like solving the problems of the world or becoming famous.  Grandma’s legacy was different.  I think possibly the most profound legacy that she left this world spawned from her love for others.  If anyone needed help, Grandma was there.  She was the kind of person who would do anything for anyone she could.  When I look at our family, each of us inherited this compassion.  Mom and Aunt Barbara have always helped others.  All of us in the family have watched this from our birth.  And when I sat and thought about it, we are all helpers.  We go out of our way to help others.  In a world where this is becoming more and more rare, I’m glad that we learned from Grandma the importance of loving our neighbor as ourselves.  I’m glad that this legacy is a part of our heritage, and I hope we can continue to pass this legacy down to our children as well.

The 4th layer we can learn from Grandma’s life is to be content.   Grandma’s life was not extravagant.  She lived simply. I never heard her complain.  She had one box of toys in the back of her home.  We were all different ages at different stages in life, and there were a lot of us.  Somehow we all were content with that same old box of toys….for years!  Sometimes I feel like I always have to have more, get more, do more.  I think I can learn, that we all can and should learn to just be content and thankful for what we have.  We are so blessed and if we are not careful, we will be too busy looking for the next thing in our lives and our happiness will pass us by.

The 5th Layer would be to find something you love and do it…with joy, with excellence, with others if you can.  Grandma loved cooking, playing games, plastic canvas, quilting, singing, and gardening among many other things.  So she found time to do the things that brought her joy.  I don’t know where she found the time, but she did.  I think we do well when we pursue the things we love and make time for them instead of letting the tyranny of the urgent make us slaves to what we must do at the expense of doing what we love with the ones we love.

The 6th layer I want to take away from Grandma’s life is to have the ability to exude peace.  This is hard for me to explain because I’m not sure how she did it.  Whenever I was with Grandma, I just felt peace.  I think that is why I loved to be with her.  We didn’t have to be playing something or doing anything together. When I was at Grandma’s I just felt at peace.  As an adult, I now realize that even Grandma surely had problems of her own. I know she faced trials, yet somehow whenever I was in her home, I felt a supernatural peace and calm.  Grandma’s house was a safe place.  My home was also safe of course.  It was great, but Grandma’s house was special because Grandma’s love was special.  And in her love, my heart felt peace.  I want to be able to bring that peace to others as well.  The world is hard.  People need peace.  I hope we can learn from Grandma that even though we have troubles in this world, our hearts can still find peace in God, and our homes can still be a place of peace for others.

The Seventh layer and the icing on the cake, is Faithfulness.  She was a faithful Christian, a faithful wife, a faithful mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother.  In her later years, she was a faithful caretaker to Granddaddy James.  You could always trust her word.  If she said she would be there, she was there and on time. (God help me.)  She was dependable, someone you could count on and not worry about.  God help us all to be so faithful.  And thank God that when she left her earthly body behind, she finally got to hear God’s words affirm her faithfulness as He surely said to Grandma, well done thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord and that is where she is right now. 

Grandma’s cakes were made of just the right ingredients. They were frosted with love and prayer, and baked with perfect timing.  I’m thankful for the legacy she has given to all of us and thankful that one day, if we have learned from her life, we can all be with her again in heaven.  That would surely be her greatest joy!

Rest in Peace Grandma…until we meet again!