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A Little Perspective

            My husband Ben’s grandmother, whom we affectionately called Grand Barby, was a saint, or at least we thought so. She was 92 years old when she died in 2011. We were all surprised because we truly believed she would live forever, or at least to age 100. Her amazing qualities are too many to list here, but one of her greatest attributes was her deep and abiding faith in God.

Grand Barby and I talked about spirituality often.   She confessed that the older she got, the less she felt she knew with absolute certainty when it came to matters of faith and religion. But instead of being disconcerted by the number of questions that continued to arise, she seemed to grasp hold of this freedom and enjoy the continuing evolution of her faith. There is an element of mystery that accompanies great faith, and she reveled in it.

Grand Barby used her daily walks as opportunities for prayer. She liked to tell the story of one particular walk she took during Holy Week. She was telling God about her troubles, detailing the issues in her life and those whom she loved, and probably the world’s problems as well. Of course, God asks us to lay our burdens at his feet, but there’s also room for a good dose of perspective, which Grand Barby said she received during that walk. She was busy praying about her concerns when she felt as though Jesus said to her spirit, “Let me tell you about the week I had.”

Oh, right. That week we call Holy Week, but that was in reality, hell on earth for Jesus. Betrayed by his friend, falsely arrested, wrongly accused, condemned in an unfair trial, mocked, beaten, whipped, speared, betrayed again and again and again, murdered. That week when God watched his son suffer atrocities. Any parent will attest that he or she would rather suffer than watch his or her child endure such pain.

A week that is worth remembering, not just for the resurrection that occurs on Easter Sunday, but for the brutality that Jesus suffered on our behalf. It’s ugly, it’s uncomfortable. It’s so much easier to close our eyes and open them again on Sunday morning as we shout “He is Risen.”

And yet, Grand Barby always told the story of her Holy Week walk with a smile on her face, and even a small laugh as she recounted the catch phrase, “Let me tell you about the week I had.” For her, the memory of Jesus’ suffering was a key to appreciation. An entry point to praise. A cue to worship. A reminder that Jesus went through all he experienced because of his great, unending love for us.

Grand Barby’s love is still a palpable presence in our lives even though she is no longer physically present with us. I’m pretty sure that Grand Barby would ask us to use her lingering love as a reminder that great as our human love can be, God’s love is so much greater. A little perspective goes a long way.

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