by Dixie Phillips, CES Editor, Writing Coach, Award-Winning Children’s Author and Songwriter
Journaling is one way to keep precious memories alive. Another way is to jot down simple stories of everyday family life. Today I will share one of our family’s stories with you. Enjoy.
Grandma Eleanor was the stabilizing force in my life for as long as I can remember. Her wisdom and common sense echoed in the depths of my soul, long after she passed away. After her death, it seemed the grief would come in waves and cast shades of suffocating bereavement throughout my day. I would always find comfort in the Scriptures and consolation in the old hymns about heaven. But one day as our family was embarking on a new adventure, I was stung by this painful reality—Grandma Eleanor wouldn’t be part of our family’s joyous celebration.
Rebekah, the first of our four children to be married, was to be united in holy matrimony on August 9, 2008. As we were making wedding preparations, I discovered a treasured picture of Grandma Eleanor cradling our newborn Beka in her arms. Hot tears slipped down my cheeks.
“Oh, Grandma, I wish you could be here. You were always so practical,” I whimpered. “You would know exactly how many pounds of strawberries and bananas we need for the chocolate fountain.”
Rebekah and I had tried to think of a theme for her wedding and decided since she was marrying Zacharia David Fox, “The Fox Tale Begins” would fit the bill. We had hunted for tiny, imitation foxtails, hoping to make adorable bookmarks with the foxtails and our witty slogan attached. We planned to give them as wedding favors to our guests, but we weren’t having any luck. We gave up and chose an entirely different theme.
I couldn’t stop staring at the picture of my grandmother. “Oh, Grandma, you would be so proud of Beka and Zac. They love the Lord and have surrendered their lives to His work,” I whispered. Suddenly a verse from Hebrews smoldered in my heart.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1 NIV
A small box caught my eye. I remembered when Grandma Eleanor had died my father had given me a box that held a few of her knick-knacks. Inside the cardboard box was a tiny package with a soiled Martha Washington one and one-half cent stamp loosely fastened in the right corner and a faded label addressed to Mrs. Eleanor Holtz. I lifted the lid off and gasped when I saw a tiny foxtail attached to a white leather bookmark etched with a gold imprint of a fox.
It was a “God wink” for me and brought such comfort to my grieving soul. As my fingers traced the soft foxtail, I pondered the delightful, heavenly gift. Could it be that Grandma Eleanor was a member of that great cloud of witnesses? Could she be cheering us on? Is it possible that she would be present at her great-granddaughter’s wedding?
I may never know this side of heaven the answers to my questions, but this one thing I know—the Holy Spirit takes great pleasure in comforting grieving hearts. So I will dry my wet eyes and rejoice as our family’s Fox tale begins!