Cara sat up on her bed, the scraping sound of a chair on the floor alerting her to the movement in the dining room on the ground floor. She slid her legs from the bed, slipped into her slippers and made her way out of her room. She tiptoed to the exit leading to the lower part of the house.
She knew who the person sitting in the dining room would be, her granny, and she wanted to be with her. Once she exited the door leading to the staircase, the smell of cinnamon hit her. A brief memory of cinnamon-flavored pancakes wafted through her mind in a flash, making her smile—memories made with granny.
She made her way downstairs, knowing granny knew of her descent, but the old lady kept her head down as she read her bible. The electric bulbs were off, and white scented candles filled the room, giving it an other-worldly feel. One candle stood in its small silver holder on the dining table, giving granny direct light.
Cara smiled again at her granny’s habits, as she made her way to the dining table, moved a chair out, and sat next to her. Granny lifted her head and smiled, a smile of love and appreciation. Cara could never get enough of that smile, she smiled back, and none of them said a word for a while.
“Couldn’t sleep?” Granny asked.
“Not yet. I work late into the night. It will take time to adjust to rural life.”
“You should sleep, Cara-Mama, your body deserves it.”
“And you, Mama-Cara, doesn’t your body deserve it too?”Cara said, and they smiled at the pet names they had given each other years back.
“I started a nightly habit after I retired from teaching. When I can’t sleep, I come out here, light my candles, and seek God’s face. He always has a word for me. I sleep till late in the morning and start my day refreshed.”
Cara took her granny’s hand in hers and squeezed. “How are you doing? Be honest.”
Her granny squeezed right back. “I am fine.” She said, smiling.
“How do you do it? How do you stay strong after such a loss? I want to understand, no, I need to, granny. I want to know you don’t show a strong face in the day and cry yourself to sleep at night. It also keeps me up.”
Her granny smiled and bent her head to an angle, thinking. “I will read something for you.” She said and flipped through her bible. She settled on a page.
“It’s from the book of Isaiah, chapter 26, and verse 4:
Trust in the Lord forever, For in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.’
“Cara, this verse has carried me through storms, oh, great ones. Storms that toppled me and bled me dry. Storms that exhausted me and left me empty, almost dead. Storms that threatened to take my very life, but you know who stood steady by me through them? The Lord.
“When your grandfather died, He stood next to me like the rock of Gibraltar, unshaken. So I knew I would stand again. When the farm went bankrupt, and I almost lost everything my husband built, the Lord stood next to me, and we weathered that hurricane together. Now, even now…”
Cara saw tears for the first time drop from her granny’s eyes, and her tears, like servants being called upon by a master, were summoned.
“Now that my son is dead, the Lord is standing by me. He is upholding me, and telling me everything will be alright. You ask how I do it? I don’t. I rely on the strength of my heavenly father and yours as well.” She looked at Cara with an intensity that shook her grand-daughter, squeezing her hand tight for emphasis.
“If I leave you nothing else, child, learn to go to Him at all times. Learn to trust and wait for Him. There will be times of pain and anguish that would threaten to take your very breath, turn to Him. Hardships will come, the ones caused by you and the ones nobody will understand, turn to Him. For without Him, you will not be able to navigate life effectively. Some people will go through what I’ve gone through and come away scarred, but in all things, God has held me up in righteousness.”
Granny let go of Cara and smiled, wiping her tears. “That’s how I’ve survived and will continue to until He calls me home.”
“How? How do you know He is there?”
Granny smiled. “I learned to listen long ago. To hear and to obey. It took time and experience, painful ones, but now I am sure of His presence as I can see your face. Don’t waste time pursuing things, Cara. Pursue Him, and He will show you the life He created you for.”
Cara nodded, cleaning her face, and needing more to reassure the woman than to understand.”Do you need a study partner?” She asked, smiling.
“Of course, and tomorrow, I will make you the cinnamon pancakes you love so much.”
“Granny, they were my favorites at 12. I need to watch my weight.”
“Nonsense, not here,” Granny said, smiling as she looked at Cara. Her appreciation of the young woman showing again, as her eyes narrowed on Cara’s facial features, inspecting each one with affection. “Thank you, Cara, for coming here. For taking time out of your schedule to visit Mama-Cara. God bless you, child.”
Cara smiled as she stood and walked to her granny’s chair, where she lowered her forehead, touching her granny’s. A symbol of affection developed from long ago.
Till next time, be transformed!!!