Thursday, June 2, 2011

Grammie: Serving by Waiting

My husband's grandmother ("Grammie") went to be with her Lord and Savior this past week. She lived 87 years on this earth despite several health conditions that were predicted to shorten her life. I've often thought of this poem in reference to her during the last few years--it's a poem by John Milton that he wrote when he discovered he was going blind. Blindness, in the 17th century, usually meant the end of a person's active career. Milton went on to write Paradise Lost after he became blind, illustrating that one needn't be active in the traditional sense to serve the Lord.

Grammie wasn't blind--yet--but her eyesight was failing, she'd been unable to drive for years, had difficulty walking without assistance, and was completely dependent on others for many ordinary things.... And what did she do? She prayed--for everyone she knew. She mothered and grandmothered people. She kept in touch with people, and she testified of the Lord to people. To me, she's a great example of Milton's reminder that "They also serve who only stand and wait."

On His Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."