Jean Louise Bennett had a beautiful spirit. She was a mighty servant of God. She led her family in all the ways that mattered. She led them to church. She showed them how to be a devoted spouse, even when it wasn’t always easy. She taught them to pray. Showed them how to love the unlovable. Taught them that all they needed was a made up mind and the blood of Jesus. At 29 years old I am fortunate enough to not have many regrets. But among the few I do have, not getting to know Grandma Jean better is a big one. I regret not bringing my kids around to get to know her better. I regret not gleaming more of her wisdom. I regret not just sitting around and listening to her make others laugh. I regret not being around to taste her infamous pie – or any of the food she cooked for her family with so much love. Nobody went hungry when they were in Grandma’s house.
With all those regrets it is pretty obvious that my memories with Grandma Jean were limited – but there is one that I truly call myself blessed to experience. As it became apparent that she was making her way towards her eternal home we went to visit her at her house. Grandma’s house was physically small but like her, was large in spirit. When you sat in her living room, on her red sofa, you didn’t feel like you were in a small living room. Maybe it was the love in the house that made it always seem like there was enough room for everyone. As we all squished into the room she sat in her recliner dozing in and out of sleep. The television was playing in the background. As I sat across the room from her, quietly watching everyone around me a friend of hers from church came in. I was silently praying and could already feel the Holy Spirit in the air. Suddenly all the men and children went outside. It was as if God had taken his hand and ushered everyone except the women out of the house. Grandma sat in her recliner with her daughter, who was knitting a dish rag next to her – and her friend came over towards her to pray over her and anoint her with some oil. After she prayed over her – my husband’s Aunt started singing “Jesus kept me, another day, yes he did”. The Spirit was so thick in the room I don’t think an unbeliever would have been able to breath had they walked in. I looked around and myself and the other women in the room all had silent tears rolling down our faces. I think the tears were a mixture of a lot of things – pain, grief, the Spirit, joy. But mostly, I think the tears came from all of us knowing. Every woman in that room knew. We knew it was true – that Jesus had kept her another day and in doing so blessed us all with another day with her.
I don’t have many things I care about accomplishing in life. I don’t care about being a millionaire or climbing the corporate ladder. I don’t care about driving a fancy car or living in a huge house. At the end of my life, if my family loves me, respects me and feels about me the way we all felt about Grandma Jean, I will know my purpose on this earth was met. My life will have made a difference and I will be able to go home to meet my Father with the same peace I saw Grandma gracefully take with her on her journey to her eternal home.