Grandma was not a good explainer of faith, but she was a great example of it.  She kept our family full of food, love, laughter, and church.  Lots of church.  At the time, I didn't think I got much out of it.  It was overly crowded, not air-conditioned, too long, and since most of these people's Sunday's best was polyester, everyone sweat a lot.  Especially the preacher who delivered his sermons like an athlete -- jumping, screaming, and throwing his fist in the air.  I imagined him on a basketball court, or in a boxing ring.

The long hot hours I spent in my childhood Baptist church made me want just three things: (1) for it to be over; (2) peppermint from Grandma's purse; and (3) a nap.  The only thing I'd get from that list would be the candy, which I later learned should not be opened in other churches because you could hear the paper unwrap.  But in our church, you could not hear an entire roll of aluminum foil unwrap.  Yeah, it was just a little loud.

But thank God for the music, as that was the only thing on those marathon Sundays that reminded me I was surely alive, and had not yet died of boredom.  I tried to create ways to make my little church hand-fan stir more breeze.  I wondered just how long the ushers could stand with their left arm folded behind their back.  I marveled at the white gloves, shiny shoes and carnival hats.  I asked, "God, do You really care about all this stupid stuff?"

I told my Grandma how much I disliked church.  I begged her to pleeeeease let me wait for her in the parking lot where I could learn much more from wildflowers and creepy-crawlers.  Anything but the hot circus.

She agreed, and then smartly brokered a deal.  I could 'skip' church in exchange for memorizing a chapter from the Bible -- we started with Psalm 23.

I could not stop weeping the first time I came across .

I still can't.

A Blessing for Grandmothers

It is all the goodness
of a mother's love, times two.
Double the wisdom, double the patience,
double the apple-pie goodness
of the pure source of love You
dispense to us through our Grandmothers. 
Bless them to know how much we,
their grandchildren, adore everything about them. 
May they feel the warm security of this family's love. 
May Grandmothers everywhere
feel all of their good deeds returned to them;
may they feel their prayers
and kind words showered back on them;
may they know their helpfulness
and value is cherished by us.
May they enjoy their heart's desire now.

-Erika Harris


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