Friday, September 6, 2013

Lola "Grandmother"

What is beauty?  So often the world tries to tell you it is to be young, flawless, thin, but I believe it is different.  To me beauty looks like this.

My beautiful mother :) I hope to have
her gentle spirit and
beautiful white hair one day!

Lola reading through the Bible.  Her hands give us a
glimpse of her life.  The wrinkles that show the toil
and care over so many years!

In these pictures I see beauty and so much history.  These are the type of people I desire to spend my time around, people with a past.  Listening and learning from their life and stories.  Seeing what truly matters.  Faith.  Family.  Simplicity.

Lola was a sweet woman who was in pain and suffering.  At that time they were not sure how long she would live, but with the love, gentleness, and attention of the many caregivers, children, and Ate her life lasted longer than anyone anticipated.  Lola speaks tagalog.  I speak English.  And yet she taught me so much with few words.  She shared her heart for her children (who did not live close)- she was still so selfless and caring in her old age.  When I was visiting I would randomly go in to visit Lola.  Usually by myself, sometimes with an interpreter.  Sometimes I peeked in on her, other times I read or sang to her, and no matter what I did her sweet words always blessed me “thank you, po”, she would say.  It makes me tear up now just thinking about her sweet voice.  She passed away a few weeks ago.  I just found out today.  As easy as it would be to be sad, today I rejoice at the gift of having met Lola.  I am joyful that she is no longer in pain, and I picture her worshipping our Savior with her ukelele.  I am blessed to have met such a wonderful woman. 

   So often when we go to serve or volunteer with a ministry our goal is always to bless them or to help in some manner.  What really happens is the change within ourselves.  Each time.  God uses people and situations to stretch me in ways that I don’t allow in my everyday life.  (I wonder how much I must miss out on?)

The one thing that is a constant challenge in this life is the movement.  People come here. Then they leave.  Opening up my heart time and time again with the realty that they will leave and yet I will still be here.  It is easy for me to want to harden my heart and to begin to shut people out, but God is challenging me not to do that.  If I were to do that I would miss out on the “Lola”s in life and for the many friends and acquaintances that have come through this beautiful island. 

My prayer today is…
   “Lord, your design for relationships is so intricate and deep.  I ask for your forgiveness for the times where I have shut people out, pushed people away, or when my pride has gotten in the way.  Thank you for continuing to show me grace not only through your son, but also through the many people that you have placed in my life.  Also thank you for the opportunity to build relationships with the people of the Philippines.  I ask that you would give me a deep love for people.  Not something that would be of my own doing, but something that can only come through your spirit. I am blessed to have a personal relationship with you! I love you! Amen.”