Good morning. It is Tuesday, February 8, 2022. Jeanette Stark here.
I had a very realistic dream last night. I dreamt I was staying at my grandparents’ house on New Hope Road.
My grandpa passed in 1995 and grandma in 2009. They have been gone for some time, but most of my favorite memories from my childhood, and even young adulthood, took place at their home.
There was something very special about that place. First, my favorite people lived there, second, most family reunions took place there, third, they never moved. I have moved 23 times in the last 40 years. They lived in the same house for over 40 years. It was home. So many memories are wrapped up on that piece of property! It is no longer owned by family, and I no longer pull into the driveway, but my memories are strong.
My dream last night had me staying there. My grandparents were out of town. (They loved to travel, especially back to Minnesota to visit siblings and other family members.) In my dream I was watching over the place. Before my dream was over, they had returned and I ran up to them and hugged them, tightly. My grandma passed away one day shy of her 92nd birthday, but in my dream, she was easily in her 60’s. My papa was the same man I remember from my 20’s and 30’s. The embrace felt so warm, and I felt so loved. And then I woke up. I have been thinking about that dream all morning.
I wrote this for my grandma Eva for her 90th birthday in 2007. I thought it fitting to share it here.
“To know her is to love her. She'd do anything for me.
The oldest of her eldest. It was 1963.
I was born to loving parents, in late winter of that year.
She drove in a car across the states, to hold me and welcome me here.
Love was all I knew in those early days to come.
Discipline was rare, but, doled out when it was earned.
My earliest childhood memories, have parents and grandparents there.
I still remember at the age of 3, the taste of the sea and cool salt air.
I also have memories of peaches; home canned.
Frozen corn, green beans, and strawberry jam.
Avoiding workers in a steamy hot kitchen.
Cracking walnuts and doing the dishes.
The smell of wood smoke and making my bed.
Cinnamon rolls and round loaves of homemade bread.
Christmas cookies and a variety of them.
All made from scratch with love stirred in them.
Sunday nights at gramma's house were always extra sweet.
With the Wonderful World of Disney, in Living Color, on TV.
We'd gather in the living Room, and of course preceding that,
Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, featuring elephants and wild cats.
We'd partake of Grandma's specialty: Homemade Carmel corn!
Eat all you can now, for there will be none left to take home.
Summer days at gramma's were always extra nice.
With frozen cups of water turned into licking blocks of ice.
Running barefoot on hot granite to see who was the toughest.
A cool dip in the Applegate to prove we could be trusted.
Run to town for ice cream with root beer floats to make.
Only A and W would do, anything else would be a fake.
Fresh carrot juice and camping and trips down to the river.
Cold mornings on New Hope Road with sniffles, coughs and shivers.
Plucking grandma's chin-hairs was always lots of fun.
She'd lay her head in my lap until the job was done.
Memories of trips to the garden, saltshaker in hand.
Eating yummy warm tomatoes grown there on grandpa's land.
Of course, the rows of raspberries proved always tough to harvest.
But grams would cut strips of cloth and tie a bucket tightly around us.
Gingerly we'd pick until our bucket filled.
Taking care to not let the thorny brush prick our fingers or snag our hair.
The corn rows served more purpose for this young child.
Along with my cousins we could hide in there for hours.
If we ever needed grandma, we knew right where to find her.
In the sewing room running a machine or finishing a pleat with the iron.
Grams worked in the fields, hard, before she had that luxury!
Whatever she could do to help her family. Picking Tomatoes, glad's and strawberries.
She's the hardest working woman I have ever known.
Too bad some of that trait into me was not sown.
But kidding all aside and the reminiscing done,
I'm the luckiest girl in the world, the biggest prize I won.
I have the love of a grandma who nurtured and taught and instructed.
And as she gets older, we can smile and look forward to the eternal resurrection.”
Christians have the faith and hope that we will be reunited with our loved ones that loved Jesus and accepted His gift of eternal life. That hope is strong in me.
Hope in the Bible is not the same kind of hope we experience daily. We hope our checkbook doesn’t bounce. We hope our car doesn’t break down. We hope we can lose weight and stick to our exercise program ;0) But the hope of the Bible is different. The hope in the Bible is a confident expectation that God will keep His promise to us. Isn’t that beautiful! It is trusting in Jesus’ power and His saving Grace.
Confident: certain that something will happen or that something is true – Merriam Webster
Expectation: basis for expecting, assurance – Merriam Webster
Isaiah 40:31 tells us, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” NIV
New King James uses the word “wait” instead of “hope”.
Hebrews 11:1 NKJV “Now faith is the substance (or realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (or confidence) of things not seen.” That is faith in action.
The prophet Micah said, “Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait (or hope) for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7 NKJV
I was listening to the radio on my drive to work this morning. The gal mentioned how beauty is sometimes mentioned as fleeting. As we get older, our features change, our body shape changes, the way the world views us changes. Outward beauty does not last. But there is something that will last forever: Faith, hope, love.
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV
To take this verse in its context we need to read a bit before verse 13. Starting in verse 8, Paul writes, “But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.” He is telling the people these things will cease, but you know what will never cease? Faith, Hope and Love.
Jesus is faithful. He is coming again, and we believe it will be soon. But even if it is not as soon as we want, He is coming. He is coming to take us to heaven. He is coming to reunite us with our loved ones that were taken from us in death. He is coming to put an end to sin and all the suffering it brings. He is coming to destroy the devil and the 1/3 of the angels that followed him in his revolt against God. He is coming to destroy death.
1 Corinthians 15:26 tells us “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” NKJV
So my friend, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 NKJV