Who are the Grands?

They are 90 and 93, and they live each day like there is no tomorrow. Because there may not be. Their minds are not what they used to be and their bodies are breaking down bit by bit, but inside those old minds and bodies they are the same independent-minded young people that forged their own way in this world and made a good life for themselves. This is both a blessing and a challenge, as you'll see in the posts below. Welcome to our journey!

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Don't Lose Heart with People

I think we all lose heart with people sometimes. We hear the news of murders and violence, we look around our communities and see people's rudeness and lack of consideration for others, we see the road rage, and we are tempted to lose heart. But sometimes it's just a matter of where we're putting out attention.

This week I've been reflecting on the truly wonderful people in my grandparents' lives. These are people who love them enough to be there for them, who pray for their welfare, who seek to be a part of their lives in these last precious days and months. People who go out of their way to be there and do things for Grandma and Grandpa in whatever way they can.

Two shining examples are Nick and Debbie Neff. Nick and Debbie came to see the Grands last week, driving all the way from southeastern Michigan to northern Illinois just for a one day visit.

My grandparents have known Nick since he was knee-high. The Grands began going to the same church as his parents, Joe and June Neff, back in the 1950's and they became fast friends. Joe and June had four boys. I believe Nick was in the middle there somewhere.

He and his brothers Christopher, Timothy, and Danny were an energetic bunch compared to my grandparents and their only daughter, my mother Gale Lee, but they had so much fun together. My mother loved running around with the boys and the Grands and the Neffs had a grand time chatting away the hours. They went camping together. The Neffs had a crazy big 16 person tent. That was a wonderful outlet for the energy of four little boys and one hyperactive girl.

The Neffs lived in a large two story house with white pillars out front and red shutters. From my visits with Grandma to the Neffs, I remember those pillars and shutters clearly. I thought they were really bold and beautiful. They were far different from the small brick ranch that the Grands lived in. The Neffs lived on a busy boulevard, but their beautiful house was set back from the road a bit.

My grandpa recalled last week that one day Joe and he were sitting in the dining room of the Neffs' home, and the boys were running around the house in a circle, chasing each other from room to room. Apparently, the chaos was starting to get to Joe. As they paused in their game, Joe said to them, "Why don't you boys go outside and play in the road?" The boys ignored him, but my grandpa got so tickled. Even now, this memory makes Grandpa laugh. What a blessing to see him laugh!

Nick and Debbie drove six hours one way to spend one day with the Grands, but you know what? That effort paid off in the bright smiles on the Grands' faces and in the new memories that Grandma and Grandpa now have. What does it mean to love someone? How much does it matter to spend one day with two little old people in an assisted living home? More than you can imagine...

The next time I think that a few minutes or hours aren't worth spending with someone because it's so little time and so much effort, I'll think of Nick and Debbie's trek across the Midwest to spend one day with the Grands. Thank you, Nick and Debbie, not only for loving the Grands but for being an inspiration to all of us.

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