Sunday, April 22, 2012

On Cleaning out my Grandparent's Apartment

My grandparents' home tells of six continents of world travel - Pakistan, New Guinea, Kenya, Chile, Switzerland, India {the full list warrants its own post}. And from all these places, the accompanying souvenirs. Items that I love for their craftsmanship, made by artists in villages who took precious time to create beauty amongst hostility. A collection of eye-catching pieces, almost lost to the next amazing eye-catching piece.

They used it all.  Sugar bowls and jewelry cases and pencil holders. No piece was so 'precious' that it must remain wrapped in tissue paper, ferreted away in a drawer where no one could see it. Chips happened. Cracks and glue. Just life. All this functional art used, seen, touched every day. The craftsmen might be more pleased to see it cracked and loved, then wrapped and saved and never enjoyed. The art isn't intended to last forever. It is intended to bring joy and beauty every day.

I see myself in their home. Where my esthetic originated. Grandmother's pendants. Granddad's African mammal art. Inlayed wood trays. Not just me - big one's obsession with elephants and giraffes is genetic. We just have Kenya in our blood, handed down through my great grandfather who wanted more than anything to see Africa. I'm the fourth generation to make the pilgrimage to the grasslands. Scraped by on mac n' cheese for a year in college to save for the trip. I had to go. And I had to go back as soon as the plane lifted from the Kenyan tarmac.

{Child memories are funny things. Of all the pieces in my grandparents' bedroom, the piece I remember: Figment, the Imaginary Dragon - a stuffed toy from Epcot. Why did my child brain latch onto that? It still sits in their bedroom. I laugh.}
My most valued treasure from my grandparents - Grandmother's Bible. That Bible sits with my mom's and mine. A legacy of faith - the plumb line of my family. This is what I want to carry home for my girls. This is what lasts. Afternoons spent on vinyl deck chairs practicing the 23rd Psalm and the catechism with Grandmother. Her faith taught to this younger woman to be carried on for generations. One day, I hope big one and small one add their Bibles to the pile and thank the Lord for generations of His grace.

Never mind bank accounts and collections, net worth. Faith is the inheritance, the only inheritance that lasts.

Thank you Lord for your faithfulness throughout generations. You do not forget your people. You do not leave them hopeless and alone. You uphold us with your righteous right hand and grace our grandchildren. Praise the Lord!


  1. You always make me cry - what a blessing to have those memories and the ones you are now making with your girls. I agree with you wholeheartedly that there is nothing more importat than the memories and life experienced together with our families.

    1. My grandmother's memorial was so special as we remembered the life we had with her. Thank you.


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