Celebrating life! Celebrating Nana G! Nana G is not my Nana, but today was the celebration of her life and passing. I wanted to be there. I probably hadn’t seen Nana G for over ten years, and she probably wouldn’t even have known me if I did see her, but I wanted to honor her, and in a way, I wanted to gather with those who celebrated her and knew her better than I did. I wanted to feel the joy of her life because she represented for me something that I wanted in my own life– fun, joy, pleasure, laughter…
Over and over the testimonies from her grandchildren and great-grand children (she was almost 97) validated my knowing of her – she loved life, she had fun in almost everything she did, family and friends were so important to her, and when you were in her presence, you knew you were going to eat something homemade and delicious. What was also shared today, though, was that she faced difficulties and challenges all throughout her life, and yet in all of that she chose life, joy, laughter, and lightness.
I had the privilege of working with her in her pain. She came to me for therapeutic bodywork. Her legs were swollen, she walked with a limp, she was slightly bent over, but it was as if her heart told a different story than her body, and she wasn’t pretending. She greeted me with a hug, told a few jokes, and always invited me to come and visit her for a meal every time she saw me. She was there for me to help her, but I always left the session feeling loved, enlightened, and a little lighter with joy. Pain was there, but it never really governed her story. She was a very feisty woman. What was true about Nana G was that she was free to accept help, but even more so, she was always free to give – help, food, and useful creations.
I took her quilting fabrics and magazines from my mother. I remember seeing piles of craft materials, magazines, and fabric throughout her rooms. I understand that even into her nineties she was reading, learning, sewing, creating, and growing. There wasn’t a moment she didn’t seize to enjoy.
What I also know about Nana G is that she didn’t read tons of self-help books to learn how to be, or learn how to connect, or learn how to take care of herself. She did love her Lord. Love was an action; it wasn’t a duty. At least it didn’t feel like it was a duty. She loved because she felt loved. She loved because love flowed through her. She was connected to love and in knowing that love deeply, sharing it was natural. She lived how scriptures spoke to her. She lived love!
We have much to learn from Nana G’s life and I was reminded of many of those things today. Every day we get to write the story of how we live in love and share love. If the moment is heading in a direction we don’t want to go, we get to create a new direction in the next moment. Our story doesn’t define us. What defines us is the love we rest in, that lives in us, and that which we share. Joy and laughter are choices in the journey…from watching her and her family; it appears they are exceptional choices. Celebrate life today.