Over Easter, I got to spend time with my 99-yr-old grandmother, “Mama Nina,” in Texas. Her husband, my “Papa Ellie,” died in 1993. My grandparents were married for over 60 years and, as I visited again, I was reminded of some of the many life lessons they have taught me and which continue to be relevant.
Mama Nina is the epitome of grace, humility and kindness. I don’t believe I have ever known anyone as fair minded toward and non-judging of others. She is slow to anger, fast to forgive and is one of the most generous people I have ever known. Although she now has many physical limitations, she meets each day with gratefulness, a strong and sustaining trust in God, and a calm acceptance of her struggles.
She doesn’t hold grudges and doesn’t spend a lot of time questioning why bad things happen to her or to others. She has a great sense of humor. She simply meets each challenge with a quiet and unshakeable grace that is grounded in her belief in a God who holds the world in His hands.
Whenever I have faced a dilemma in my own life, I have only to think of what Mama Nina and Papa Ellie would advise me and it is easy to remember—“Do the right thing, it’s not hard to know what it is!”
In a world of uncertainty, where we wake up each day with more bad news in the world, it is refreshing to be around people like my grandmother. Her steady faith both calms and challenges me. Whenever I’m around her, it makes me want to be a better person, more forgiving, kinder to everyone I meet, and certain in the faith that someone other than me is in control of this world.
I hope you will get the opportunity to spend some time in the company of someone like my Mama Nina. It will steady your soul and remind you of everything good in people. The whole world may not know their names, but the whole world is better because of the Mama Ninas and Papa Ellies in it.