I thought I’d do a series on inspirational people who have overcome trials—or are enduring them day to day—with a smile on their face. These ANGELS make life easier for us. Instead of griping about their trials or thorns in their flesh, they reach out to others to lift them up to God. That’s why they’re angels.
Today’s angel is my Grandma. When I was little, I took my grandma for granted; I didn’t realize then that she was an angel. When we’d visit, I’d quickly kiss her, then find my cousins and dash off to the mountain to climb or go play in the barn. The adults sat inside and visited…boring.
I got hurt a lot as a kid—scraped knees, elbows, burnt fingers from exploding cap guns, a bee sting to my toe. It didn’t matter how I got hurt, grandma would always giggle as she made me better. It baffled me as a kid. Why did she think it was funny when I got hurt?
It wasn’t until I was a mom that I realized what she was doing. Acting all upset or overly concerned wouldn’t have helped me back when I thought I was dying. She laughed to ease my tension and make me realize that life wasn’t over. Everything was going to be all right.
That was her philosophy. Grandma didn’t have a life of ease. She was never blessed with riches. Her and Grandpa worked hard to scrape by in life…but I never met two happier people. Maybe it was because grandma knew how to smell the roses and count her true blessings. Her dry witty sense of humor didn’t hurt either…nor her smile that never stopped.
Grandma lived with chronic pain for the last 45-50 years of her life. From her early 50’s on, she was plagued with intense headaches that wouldn’t go away—EVER. Now when you hurt, it’s easy to pull inward and be grumpy. It’s easy to be bitter and wish you were well. We almost feel justified in snapping at others that aren’t in pain, feeling they deserve some of our misery…right?
Grandma was the angel that taught me that no matter how miserable you may feel, you can still smile and reach out to others. Her head hurt severely, but when I visited her, she’d always greet me with a smile. I’d ask, “Are your headaches gone?”
She’d smile and say, “No, they’re never gone. But I’m fine. How are you?” And she’d turn the conversation to happier topics. She’d take me out in her garden and show me her flowers and vegetables, with a hoe in her hand for balance, as we walked and talked.
She loved gardening. I think that’s what helped her live so long (to age 97)…that, and smiling. Clear up to the end, Grandma wore a smile on her face. The last couple years of her life she dealt with excruciating pain and her headaches worsened…but still, she threw out smiles like they were candy.
When I was there for a week with my sister (near the end when grandma needed 24/7 assistance), she still insisted on going to church. And grandma was the angel that had to greet EVERYONE that came in the door. Mrs. Social Butterfly. As I watched her greet everyone with that big smile of hers, I saw each person’s face light up with joy. My angel grandma lifted them and made them feel better about their day…their self…their life. That’s how she made me feel.
When I’d help her into bed each night, she’d thank me profusely, then kiss me and tell me in her scratchy voice that I was HER angel. It made me want to cry…but I laughed instead. I’d learned that lesson from her as a kid. Laughing helps you know everything will be all right.
The angels in our life have the ability to make us feel like we are the most important person ever—that we are the most loved—that we bring them the most joy. The funny thing is, they make EVERYONE feel that way. But it doesn’t make you jealous. You feel even better, because you realize you really are the most important person in their life—that you are the most loved…and so is the next person…and the next person.
The love of an angel is never diminished when it is given away. It is magnified.
You can’t meet an angel and not be changed. Their goodness and love seep deep within you (whether you’re aware of it or not). Sometimes we might be angels like Clarence on It’s a Wonderful Life, but it doesn’t matter. The point is…we are divine. We will touch and influence those around us and become more radiant in our spirits the more we focus on heaven…and less on earth.
You don’t have to have riches or perfect health to be an angel. Usually, the best angels are the ones who keep doing God’s work even in the midst of their own suffering…like my smiling, giggling Grandma…because they know what’s next. Eternity.