I imagine there are many little things for which we are thankful. If you're like me, you could spend your whole day just trying to name them all—I learned a long time ago that I have more to be thankful for than I could ever dream of.
Memories are on my list. Like you, I have memories of special people who are no longer with us. Many of my Southern Gospel friends are forever etched in my memory—Glen, George, Rex, Doug and dozens more. Memories of my family are there, too; and it's because of someone in my family that I write this.
My dad's mother passed away nearly 16 years ago. "Grandma Jones" is how everyone in our family knew her—and believe me, we had a lot of family. After all, Dad has enough brothers and sisters to make up a football team; and by the time you add in the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren, we're talking about a small country.
Grandma Jones, for as long as I knew her, was a spiritual giant in our clan. She always had a hymn on her lips and prayed prayer after prayer for her family and friends. After being around her for just a few minutes, no one had any doubt where she stood with the Lord. It was obvious she knew Him; and she made sure others found out about Him, too. She was in love with the Savior—she found Him true and faithful every day.
Never once did Grandma Jones let the world get the best of her. She met every challenge with her secret weapon: faith in God. Even after my grandfather passed on, she never wavered in her faith. When her health began to fail and she needed assistance in her daily living, she was a walking testimony to the Lord's grace, mercy and love.
Grandma spent her last days in a nursing home in northern Georgia; and from what I've learned in the years that have passed, she was a favorite among the nurses. She always had a pleasant disposition, and she was known to whip out a chorus of "Amazing Grace" when an attendant was cleaning her room. If one of the other residents had a prayer request, they headed straight down the hall to Grandma's room.
On that October day when the Lord said it was time for Grandma to join Him, the sky was brilliant blue, the air was crisp and the leaves were at their peak colors. That evening, she closed her eyes and woke up in a new world. I remember thinking, How can the Lord take her home after a day like that?
Two days later, we stood in the cemetery as a chilly rain fell. As we said the closing prayer, I felt warmth on my shoulder; I opened my eyes to see sunshine spilling onto the top of her casket. I looked up at the sky, and there was a patch of brilliant blue directly above her grave. Colorful leaves scooted across the ground, driven by a gentle breeze.
You see, from what I remember, Grandma loved the fall, the blue sky and the masterpiece colors of the leaves. Even as her earthly journey came to a close, the Lord proved that He was true and faithful. He honored her with a sight that was her favorite—and gave our family an assurance only He can give.
Be thankful for the memories. They're God's way of keeping us from walking alone.