Friday, July 27, 2012

Words from a Woman of Grace

A few months ago, I came across an old letter that my grandmother had sent to me shortly after I got married.  How sweet it was to get a hand-written note from her.  I had watched her write several notes to long-distant friends growing up, but I lived so close and saw her so often that there was no need to write to me.  Now, as a military wife, I was one more person to add to her long-distance list.  As I read the letter, I couldn’t help but smile at her charming words.  She wrote to inspire me about my new marriage, using her own marriage of over fifty years as an example.  She felt the need to share what she knew about keeping a strong, healthy relationship.  As I read along, I wished for her to be sitting there in front of me so I could say to her, “I already know all of this, grandma, because I watched you and papa together while I was growing up.”  But it was her last sentence which hung on my thoughts the most.  It almost surprised me when she said it, not because it was out of the ordinary, but rather because it was so remarkably ordinary.  Her words were, “Be kind to others, and to each other.”
Be kind.  This is one of the first things we are taught as children and continually etched into our minds as we grow up.  We are taught not to hit, not to call names, not to be rude, and to share.  We are taught to treat others how we would want to be treated.  Be kind to others.
In today’s fast-paced world of technology and materialism, it seems as though we have started to forget this simple virtue.  I have noticed more I-need-to-have-it-now attitudes.  I have seen less contentment.  I have witnessed teenagers with “I don’t care about you or anyone else” attitudes.  The focus seems to have changed from using kindness to lead us towards our desires to simply expecting our desires to be fulfilled. 
Even within a strong marriage, kindness can go by the wayside.  We learn to expect things from each other rather than gently requesting what we need or remembering to appreciate what has been done.  The things we used to love about each other become annoying.  We are no longer satisfied with the efforts the other makes and we demand more.  We fall into the “I am right, you are wrong” mentality. We forget that, even though time together has become comfortable and routine, our spouses are still people who deserve to be treated kindly.  Be kind to each other.
My grandmother was always kind.  I don’t think she had a mean bone in her body.  I do remember her being upset a few times, about what I don’t recall, but even when someone crossed her she never let her kindness falter.  She embodied grace in all she did.  I could not have asked for a better example of how to be.  But sometimes when life gets hard, when this military life seems more than I can bear, I admit that kindness is not my top priority.  I try my best, but every so often I do or say something that comes out unkind.  It is never intentional, but a result of the demands placed upon me and not knowing how to manage them.  I am sure my grandmother experienced such stress at some point in her life.  I long for her to be here so I could ask her how she dealt with the tough times.   I long to grasp her perfect grace.   I long to be more like her.  The words she wrote have left me with a gentle reminder of how to get there.


  1. What a beautiful woman you Grandmother must have been, her beauty came from within and she gave that to you as well.
    Thank you for sharing this thoughtful entry with us all. I appreciate all you have written.

  2. So so sweet, (and true!!)
    My grandmother still remembers to write a hand written note to me every few months!!
    Such a blessing!