Today we are in a bidding war over a house.  Really more of a kerfuffle than a war.  We have to make our “highest and best” bid by tomorrow.  The pessimism in me is protecting me from the hope that our less than full price bid will still pull through.  It’s not a fancy place, but we fancy it and would love to make it our own.

At the same time that we are messing with numbers and debating over what to spend in our future, my grandmother is back in my hometown in California battling the after-effects of chemo.  Annette is one of my favorite people.  Never harsh, always happy to have you, always seemingly content to be where ever she is at that moment.  She has lost two husbands in her life, one long before his time.  The men in her life have always been fascinated by her, doted on her, and she is gracious with her smiles in return.  She has had the same group of friends for fifty years – they call themselves “the bicycle club” though I think it’s true that they never once rode bicycles together as they’d planned.

Just twenty years ago she was teaching me to use a fork to stamp peanut butter cookies.  She saved her children’s toys for her grandchildren and we loved to play at her house, where the toys were wooden rather than plastic, and there was never any reason to watch TV.  It was where we gathered for holidays, where I powered through vegetables and tough meat for a dessert of “soup cake” (so-named for the time that it would not stand up and had to be eaten from bowls).

Several weeks ago she had a doctor’s appointment for stomach pain and now is faced with a choice between painful death or what she finds to be excruciating treatment.  As of now she is seriously considering the former option.  Today I look outside at the amazingly temperate weather, the blooms and green surrounding me, the hope we have as we plan the next stage of our adult lives in a new home, and am immediately brought back to the harsher realities.  Decay awaits.  Pain awaits.  The many joys of my grandma’s life have still led to this.

What has changed?  Just time?  Just the inevitable end of a downhill ride?  It feels that way today, but Grandma’s life has not been just a downhill ride.  Easier than some, perhaps, more difficult than others, surely.  A real life, full of trial and grace, just as her death will be.

Recently Jaron and I have been listening to David Suchet read Sally Lloyd-Jones and one section has been ringing out.  “God’s heart was filled with pain when He saw what happened to the world He loved.  Everywhere was disease and distruction, all the things God hates most… God couldn’t let his children live forever.  Not in such pain.  Not without Him… God loved his children too much to let the story end there, even though He knew He would suffer.  God had a plan – a magnificent dream.  One day he would get his children back.  One day he would make the world their perfect home again.  And one day He would wipe away every tear from their eyes.  You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children with a never stopping, never giving up, un-breaking, always and forever love.”

I can say to the decay, “restoration awaits”.  And to the pain, “healing awaits”.  And between my tears I can say to my grandmother, “unending love, unending pleasure, unending peace awaits”.