Sitting down with my grandmother to lunch was a beautiful experience. It was healing in ways I could not have predicted. There was a peace that came from wanting to honor her by greeting her with a kiss on the cheek. A long-standing Italian tradition I balked at my entire childhood, but was more than willing to indulge as a sign of grace and forgiveness. There was a meal to share and while I have been on a strict diet since the holidays, I was willing to compromise it so that I could the love language of my grandmother. . . who has defined much of her life by time laboring in the kitchen.
I learned alot about relationships during my afternoon at my grandmother's house. I learned that I could be truly present with someone when I have no expectations of them. By this I mean, my grandmother is now 90 plus years old and losing her sharpness of mind. There was not alot we could talk about or discuss in any deep or emotional way because she is just not in that place mentally. My uncle warned me over and over that she was not who she used to be. And, over and over I reassured that it was okay. I was coming with no expectations. What I learned was a great lesson in how often I bring expectations into my other relationships in life. There is freedom when we can present our whole selves to the world and engage in relationship without expectations or neediness.
When I am frustrated in relationships it is often because I am not getting something that I need from that relationship to fill myself up, to complete me, to reassure me, to assist me. It is when I am seeking to fill myself up with someone other than the One. Now, I am not saying that we are to be isolated individuals who don't need people. We were made to be in relationship. . to be in community. But when we use people to fill the empty places in our lives. When we need them to validate our worth or demonstrate our value. . . that is when we are using people in ways God never intended. He intends for us to seek Him first. But, people have been an idol for me in my life. I have been very unaware of how much I used people until more recently. I have used them to feel better about myself. I have used them to spur me on to something greater. I have used them to feel loved. I have used them to release anger. I have used them to help me feel better about myself. I said that one twice. Have done that alot!
If I were to have met my grandmother at any point since my dad's passing up to now, I would have probably had an alterior motive in our meeting. I would have been looking to get something from her to fill in that hole that the loss of my dad left behind. However, now that I have let my Heavenly Father fill the void that my earthly father left behind. I am no longer ( well at least not as often!) trying to fill it with others who will never measure up.
A light shines in the darkness and the darkness can not overcome it. God is giving me the power to be someone I didn't think I could be, God is giving me the power to do things I didn't think I could do. God is giving me the power to say things I didn't think I could say. I don't know how else to describe it . . but there is a power in me that is greater than in the world. And by it I am overcoming a legacy that I once thought was insurmountable.