On a beautiful May afternoon, my daughter and I decided to visit my nearly 91 year old grandmother. She has lived in a retirement home for quite some time now, and has done remarkably well. She still plays the occasional card game with friends and shares meals with some of the ladies. As time has gone by, however, she spends less time with others and more time alone in her room. She assures us all that she really doesn't mind. After all, she explained to me once, naps are good.
During our visits, I try to think of interesting things to talk about. I get an update on my uncle and cousins who live out of state so she can keep up with them. My daughter is learning to "speak up" when she's telling Memaw all about her baby dolls and her friends because Memaw can't hear well. We also look at a lot of pictures. We've looked at the same photo albums over and over; I don't think she ever gets tired of looking at images of her family and talking about each one as if it were the first time we'd seen it.
As I was putting some pictures back on her antique secretary desk on the other side of the room, I noticed the handmade notebook lying on the table. It was the gift that my Mom had given her for her 90th birthday. For a person who doesn't hear well, written words are invaluable. Mom wanted my Grandmother to know just how much she had touched all of our lives. Mom had asked my grandmother's close friends and family to write a birthday wish for her. These best wishes were all included in this wonderful notebook.
As we looked through this homemade treasure, she was reading every word of every page. Then, about halfway through the book, she said, "I haven't seen this in forever. I completely forgot about it."
Along with the birthday wishes, friends and family had fondly recalled memories of life through the years with my Grandmother. Grandmother had led a Brownie Troop in the fifties. She took cross-country trips and traveled to Ireland. She had even appeared on television commercials at the local TV station back in her younger days. Everyone mentioned the amazing meals she prepared throughout the years. Grandmother had touched so many lives, and in this notebook, people were given a chance to share their thoughts and love. She was moved by what people said about her.
As I watched her reading the book, I thought to myself, "Wow! This amazing little treasure has been sitting on the table about two feet away from where she sits every day and she didn't realize that it was there. I wonder how many powerful reminders go unseen and not experienced simply because I don't realize they are there."
The psalmist said:
"He knows us inside and out ... God's love ... is ever and always, eternally present" (Psalm 103:14-17 MSG).
All we have to do is look for it.