Our sweet, 70-something neighbor came home for the weekend after being hospitalized for more than two months. She’s recovering from a stroke that’s left her right side paralyzed. She cried when she saw us.
She’s a soft-spoken lady with a generous heart. When we came back after being away for the summer she brought over hot soup and “kolac” (cake like dessert). We’ve been the happy recipients of her delectable treats over the years.
Her kindness reminds me of my Grandma who’s been gone for more than 25 years. Every once in a while, I see her in my dreams. One of the last times I saw her was when she was recovering from an illness. I’d gone to Peru to see her despite my parents’ objections.
We walked nearly two miles to the nearest church taking rest stops along the way. She’d had gotten baptized after we’d moved away. At her age, this was no small step of faith. But I couldn’t fully appreciate it then since I had not yet had my personal encounter with God. As we entered the church, she bowed her head in solemn reverence.
After church, we had a picnic there on a piece of land our family owned within a stone’s throw from Lake Titicaca. It was a happy day with the sun shining and the lake shimmering in glistening blues. I can still see her beautiful, humble face smiling at me. I’m so thankful to know that someday I will see her in heaven.
After she passed away, my heart connection to Peru also died. While, I’ve gone back to say goodbye – to mourn her passing, it’s been nearly two decades since my last visit. I know that I will eventually go back and take my children to see where I was born.
As a child, I often wondered why God took me far away from my Grandma, and I wonder if my children think that too since theirs is an ocean away. But looking back now, I can see His faithfulness in her life and ours. I’m not sure how she came to faith because like everyone else she’d been taught to worship the statues that were paraded around the plaza (town square). I used to watch her do so. But God had saved my Grandma while we were gone!
Maybe because of my Grandma, I’ve always been drawn to “babushkas” or grannies, like our neighbor. I like listening to their stories and their wisdom that comes from having lived.
As we left our neighbor’s home, our youngest, who is an introvert like me, wrapped his small arms around her. She had let us pray for her even though she has previously politely told us she does not believe as we believe. We know that God loves her, and we are praying she will know that in her heart.