The Wisdom of Grandma Windsor
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“The Wisdom of Grandma Windsor,” New Era, July 1981, 50

Participatory Journalism:
The Wisdom of Grandma Windsor

There are moments when age vanishes, and only people remain

As I entered the rest home, my thoughts were not really on grandma, even though she was dying. I loved her, and it made me sad to realize she would soon be leaving, but she had been waiting so long to be with grandpa again that it seemed like her dying would be a blessing, a long-awaited reward for her faithfulness. My own mind longed for such assurance of what the future would hold. I was wrestling with an important decision and was filled with confusion; I found myself pleading with the Lord for peace of mind. That’s why I was so surprised when such a feeling of calmness came over me when I walked into grandma’s room. She was weeping. She wiped the tears from her cheeks and told me softly that as she looked back at her life, she was overcome with the blessings the Lord had given her. Her quiet reflection and gratitude totally removed me from my earthly worries. I hardly realized I was standing there, listening to her in the darkness. She was radiant, thin and dying, but glowing.

Any unappreciative thought I’d ever had about her was erased from my mind, and I was so humbled that I can’t find words to explain it. Why don’t those times stay with us forever? I put my unwrinkled hand over her wrinkled one and held it. I asked her what she was thinking. She said something I’ve often felt but could never quite express. She shook her head and said, “Oh, dear, if you knew all I think about.” Then she told me I looked different. I told her it was because I had no eye makeup on and she probably couldn’t recognize me. But she hadn’t even looked at me. She’d been looking out the window and then she said, “No, you are different than when you came in. You’re seeing your future laid out in front of you, and you wonder what will happen to you.” Tears came to my eyes. She was right. “Don’t be impatient, my dear. The Lord has many good things in store for you, and he loves you very much. But you are impatient like me. You want to tell the Lord when you’re ready and when you’re not.”

Then she smiled. “I have been a trial to my Lord all my life because of my impatience, and now I see my life closing, and I realize he still loves me—he loves me.” When she had finished, tears fell down her cheeks. I wasn’t crying outwardly, but when I saw her tears, mine came, too. At that moment we were sharing something together as children of God, not as an old lady and her granddaughter. That is how I will remember Grandma Windsor, and when my time comes to join her, I hope she will be proud of me.

I walked down the rest home steps with one more testimony that there really is one greater than ourselves, and that he loves me far more than I can even imagine. He has blessed me so much! Knowing that, I can’t be anything less than my best. When I fail, I punish myself. He is a God of abounding love, not hate or resentment. I do so many things wrong, and yet he still loves me. Looking at grandma’s face that day, I could see that love. I could see wisdom, humility, and peace—an overwhelming peace. I wish I could have written on stone plates that would last forever the feeling I had then.

Editor’s Note: Colleen was killed in an automobile accident three years after the death of her grandmother. The above story was taken from her journal.

Illustration by Don Seegmiller