Generations

by Andy Wood on June 18, 2008

in Five LV Laws,Principle of Legacy

Mamma and LouThis Saturday will be the next step in a season of some pretty intense generational shifts for us.  More on that tomorrow.  I wrote the following article ten years ago, during another such season.  It only seems like yesterday…

The voice on the phone was tired and quiet – not unusual for a hospital room at 9:20 pm.  They’d just gotten Lou (my grandmother) settled down for the night when I’d made my untimely call.  The occasion, other than to check on Lou, was to wish Mamma a happy 60th birthday.  A little ironic that I had to track her down at Providence Hospital where she was watching her mother edge closer to death. 

Life is filled with choices and changes, and my mom has seen her share of them.  But perhaps never with the magnitude and frequency of change she faces now.  Her mother has cancer, and is losing the battle.  Her son lives many hours away.  And up the highway a couple of hours, her daughter prepares for the Big One.  She’s preparing to leave the country for the mission field.

On this night, I enjoy a feminine family reunion by telephone.  I speak briefly to Lou, to tell her I am thinking of her, loving her, praying for her.  I hear the pain, the despair, the fear in her voice.  That growing sense of hopelessness that says, “I don’t feel good and I probably never will again.” 

Mamma and DebBut the focus of my thoughts is on this woman – what I know of her and what may forever remain a mystery. 

She was the grandmother who spoiled me when I was very small.  Who always seemed proud of me no matter what I did. Who gave me a Living Bible for Christmas in 1972 – a tool that God used to whet my appetite for Him and bring me to Christ weeks later. 

She is also the one who buried in her memory years of pain as she lived in the household of a “mean weekend drunk.”  The only time I ever heard her speak of my grandfather, who died before I was born, she did so with love and a touch of sadness.  I respect that.

I also talk on this night to my sister, who at age 38 is preparing to move with her family to The Netherlands, where she and her husband will serve as missionaries.  How ironic that as dreams and memories lay dying in Mobile, others are being birthed in Montgomery that will literally impact the world.  It’s pretty cool to hear that measured excitement in her voice – this sibling I have respected so greatly for years. 

Strange.  She’ll be missed greatly, but I feel closer to her now than ever.

And between those generations, my mother again discovers the multi-faceted pain of letting go.  There’s more than one way to say good-bye, but none of them are pleasant.  Especially when it involves that unique mother-daughter relationship.  On this night I gain a new respect for the lady who raised my sister and me, and who said when we both were born, “Lord, I give him/her to You.  Use them however You will.” 

He is.  But sometimes it hurts when you get what you pray for.

Robin and CassieThat night, as Robin and I pray together, I hear something new in the voice of my wife.  She’s praying for our 14-year-old daughter, who is on the other side of the world on a mission trip. 

We both know this is a rite of passage for Cassie.  She will return less a little girl, more a woman, with a vision for the Kingdom and the world. 

And in the weeping voice of my wife, I hear the Language of Letting Go.  And I’m reminded, gratefully, again of a day that’s coming when we’ll say good-bye for the last time. 

Yes, the weeping – and the letting go – may endure for the night.  But in Jesus, joy really does come in the morning.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

JoAnne Wood June 18, 2008 at 5:39 am

yes, letting go is not easy, but we have been so blessed with the letting go because my mother was going home to Jesus and be pain free. And you and Deb were going to serve HIM. I’ve never been sorry that we gave you two to Jesus when you were born and prayed for you to grow up to serve HIM. Although, I never dreamed that serving HIM would take both of you so far from us, we have been so very blessed as we have watched both of you raise your children to be servants of Jesus also.

Robin Wood June 18, 2008 at 10:29 am

Babe,

You have had a wonderful model in mom; she loves the Lord and way before she ever knew what would be required of her she was faithful. Funny how that happens. The Lord calls, if we are seeking him we hear, and then He begins His perfect work in us. Who would have known as we prayed over our babies just minutes after they breathed their first breath of air and committed them to the Him that we would also be so blessed by His faithfulness. No parents could ask for children who all love the Lord and are committed to His ways any more than we – they all love Him and are seeking His perfect will of service. AND now…their is Laura Kate. Generation after generation we are seeing the Lord’s hand on our families who love and are surrendered to Him. To many it seems too late – but if they only knew. We must continue to walk in the uprightness of His character and be that example so they will continue to ask the question, “what did you do to have ALL your children committed and seving Him”. The race is not over, more little feet will follow and need our examples.

Praise the Mighty God we seek.

Robin

Tree Newt June 18, 2008 at 8:57 pm

They say behind every good man is a great woman. It sounds like there were quite a few in your case, Andy. You truly have been blessed. Thanks for sharing this with us all.

Tree Newts last blog post..Patience

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