By God’s Love

14 12 2011

by MICHELLE IBERG
Arkansaw, Wisconsin, USA

I was Grandma’s grandbaby only three years, but you wouldn’t have known it for the way she spoke to me or the way I looked at her. When my mom and stepdad married, I was hers, and she was mine.

She had lived many years, but it was no less surprising when she passed last winter.

I’ve never been to a Catholic funeral and, having been raised in a comparatively laid-back church, the formality was foreign. I walked and sat among family, though I didn’t know most of them, and most didn’t know me.

While the priest spoke of Grandma warmly, he also spoke of her commitment to and love for the church.

For the first time, I felt a gap between Grandma and me. I pondered whether my own faith would meet Grandma’s approval.

It was a frozen day, and before we began to walk up the frozen hill to the frozen cemetery, we all pushed and pulled ourselves into winter clothing.

We beat our feet on especially hard earth, marching separately and methodically until we reached the top, where someone had carved Grandma’s final resting place from the icy ground.

In our winter clothes, hoods up so only our noses poked out, I could not tell who was who. A crowd of coats, scarves, and mittens huddled around her casket, shoulder to shoulder. Misty clouds of grieving breaths danced about her casket in spurts and wisps.

Our differences faded. On that hill we were simply loved ones, Grandma’s children, God’s children. The sun shone on us, and our tears were warm against our cheeks.

We stood as Christians, facing the cold sting of death, united against it and the cruel lines of isolation. God gave us that cold day so we could come together in love and stand as God’s.

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