My Grace is Sufficient…

2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

That is, to me, one of the heaviest pieces of Scripture I ever memorized. Unlike my Banner of A Woman’s Choice, I am not a “Scripture mutterer.”  A “Scripture mutterer” is someone who can put the right Scripture with the right moment – to give peace or healing when it is needed. I can recite a good many pieces of Scripture – but not like my Banner. Banner, it seems, memorized the entire Bible with her talent…

My MeeMaw was a “Scripture mutterer” – and she had that gift to remember Scripture and quote it – at the right place and at the right time. Like Banner, she had a gift. My mother’s mother would often to tell me to stop worrying all the time. Even as a young child, I worried. Often, I had good reason. When I was completing my Master’s degree at age 23, my darling MeeMaw was ailing. She had broken her hip and had to go to hip rehab (“the other side of the nursing home…”) after a week’s stay in the hospital. She also had dementia. I hated leaving her that first night at the rehab. We were told six weeks, tops, and she’d return to us. I was at, as I look back, the most stressful time of my life. Graduating. No job prospects. Moving back home to Griffin, Georgia. Working in PAS groups. Converting to Catholicism. And being more worried about my 82 year old grandmother than my OTHER grandmother, the early hipster – a chain-smoking 88 year old who was my best friend and benefactor. Grandma Gladys is another blog, another story: but this is MeeMaw in June, 1995.

“Fannie, I’m scared. Will I go home?” She still had a good bit of memory. Her hazel eyes appeared larger than normal: a week in the hospital had made MeeMaw thinner. She was tiny, but on the verge of being skinny. And she longed to be able to walk. She hated having a broken hip! Her eyes had tears, one falling down her cheek. I rarely saw her cry.

“Yes, MeeMaw. Six weeks tops. You’ll go home.” I squeezed her hand. She was shaking, her little hand quivering in mine. MeeMaw was not one to be emotional:  I’d never heard or seen her grieve my grandfather or her dead daughter or honestly, anything.  Always composed, always dignified, MeeMaw was different that night: she wouldn’t let go of my hand.

“Give me… Something to hold onto.”

“Do you want a pillow?”

“I want a Bible verse. Fannie, give me Scripture. Please.”

Out of nowhere, I grabbed 2 Corinthians 12:9 in my brain and recited it. I didn’t get it exactly perfect, but close enough for her to sigh and let go of my hand. She closed her eyes and breathed in and out.

“I miss your granddaddy…  Fannie, don’t look so sad. Keep the faith.  It will work out.  Take care of your mama.”

My mother was her only surviving child. I promised. I kissed MeeMaw’s forehead and left as soon as she fell asleep – I had to drive with my father back to Carrollton, Georgia because I had a final in one class and I was to graduate that Saturday afternoon with my M.Ed. in Library Media Education.

I never made that graduation.

I buried my grandmother on the afternoon I was to graduate, on a sunny day, on a hillside in Beech Grove, Kentucky.  I don’t remember what Brother Bennett, our dear family friend, preached at the funeral. Or saw what my other grandmother had sent for flowers, to her dear friend. I don’t remember anything but speaking to Miss Lena Scott (my mother’s old librarian) who kept telling me I’d make a fine librarian and speaking to Oma Dean Hicks. Those memories are fleeting – I can only remember…

“Take care of your mama.”

Years, so many years: hard years. I’ve tried to keep the faith. My life is about to transition in a way that makes 1995 seem petty – and I’m worried. This worry is beyond any worry I have ever had.

I felt like a failure tonight. I spent an hour on the phone with my mother and had to convince her that I wasn’t mad at her or avoiding her – although she says it’s been weeks since I saw her. It has been two days, just two days, and she weeps I don’t love her. Then, as that brutal disease does, she asks me why is she not remembering things? What has she done? Will she end up, confused, like her mother – my MeeMaw? Mother fluctuates just like MeeMaw did – and that terrifies and worries me.

In desperation, I grab a Scripture. You can guess which one – this time, I had it perfectly memorized. The Scripture comforts Mother. She settles down and we talk of things in the past, for the present is not remembered by her well – and what worries me, upsets her. We are a fine pair, my mother and I!

Thirty minutes after Mother fell asleep on the phone, I found MeeMaw’s funeral program in a box. I have no clue how it got there, why it was there, but I believe in signs. I could hear MeeMaw: Just breathe, Fannie. Trust in Him. Be at peace. It’s okay to cry. I am weak, but He is strong. You will get through this time, just like the other times. Have faith. Pray. Glory in the fact He is a strong Father and He will never leave you – or fail you. Yes, I am worried. I am worried sick –

But I hear, “Keep the faith.”

Thanks, MeeMaw.

I needed a Scripture Mutterer tonight – and although I tried to be one, I heard you through the heavenly lines, loud and clear. I will put it on repeat… I miss her tonight… My “Scripture mutterer.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

 

 

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