Two weeks ago a sweet woman I know passed away. She was in her seventies and I knew her because she was my kids’ Sunday school teacher for many years. I take that back. I knew her because she made herself known to me when she was my kids’ Sunday school teacher. There are many people in our lives who we meet a time or two or who come and go, and then there are people like “Grandma Lindy,” as everyone at church affectionately referred to her. People who we can’t seem to miss because they seemed to have had either an extra glass of Red Bull that day or because they just do life a little differently than the rest of us. That was Grandma Lindy.
One of the first conversations I remember having with Grandma Lindy was about church music. She was talking about how she loved to go to the 9:15 am contemporary service at our church because she loved the cool “rock” music, but because she was teaching Sunday school she had to go to the 8:00 am traditional service. She told me that she didn’t like “old people” music, but that one day she looked around and realized, “I’m old people!” And then she laughed hysterically as she always did when anyone (including herself) said something funny. That is another thing Grandma Lindy taught us. We don’t laugh enough. There are a lot of funny things (and people) to laugh at/with if we take the time to look around and if we quit taking life so seriously.
Grandma Lindy had a real life. She endured real pain, loss and struggle in life like everyone, but the difference with Lindy was that she choose to have joy in that real life. She chose to love those around her and made you feel like she was the president of your fan club. Lindy wasn’t fake and she wasn’t a flatterer; she said things like they were and she wasn’t afraid to mince words. But by God’s grace (and truly by God’s grace – she would tell you that too), Lindy loved and laughed and lived. Not like those cliché picture frames and signs at Kohl’s, “Live, Laugh, Love.” That kind of rhetoric seems to imply to me that those things just happen to a person (and they put pictures in the cliché picture frame to prove it. Oh, and no judgment. I have one of those picture frames.). But Lindy chose to laugh and love and live when everything was hard, when there was not much to laugh about and she loved because she chose to, not because she particularly felt like it. Grandma Lindy truly knew how to do life well, even when life wasn’t very fair or kind to her. She did life well on life’s terms.
“Dear Lord, thank you for giving us heroes to show us what it looks like to be a Christ follower in the real world. Thank you that Grandma Lindy did not have it easy, but you would have never known that by her smiles and laughter. Thank you that she endured pain, but somehow found something to be thankful for in the midst of it. Thank you that she taught us that choosing joy meant laughing out loud, literally, at least once a day. And that just waking up to a new day is reason enough to be grateful and joy filled. Thank you for loaning us Grandma Lindy and for the ability to be truly happy for her knowing that dancing with You is where she genuinely wanted to be. If she stops partying to her Jesus music long enough, give her a hug from us. Selfishly, we miss her Lord, but in her honor we will try to laugh, love and live better, more fully and more intentionally just like she taught us. Not by telling us anything, but just by living life the way that she did. In Your Name, Amen.”