Notes from Jan

What am I Missing?

May 9, 2017

What’s missing?

My adulthood.  Kate asked,” How did you look when you were an adult?” I lifted my chins and replied, “Why, Kate, that’s who I am now.” She, cocked her six year old head, giggled and exclaimed, “No, you’re not!  You’re a gramma.”

A gracious president.  Former president Obama was in Boston over the weekend to receive the Profile in Courage Award.  He spoke words I’ve been missing,”Everywhere, we see the risk of falling into the refuge of tribe, clan, and anger at those who don’t look like us, or have the same surname, or pray they way we do.  And at such moments, we need courage to stand up to hate-not just in others, but in ourselves.”  Reminded me how easily we can mistake grace for weakness.

Jud’s hand on the back of my neck. I, too prone to overdo, overthink, overreact settled when Jud simply rested his hand on the back of my  neck. Without words his touch reminded me, while you’re an eldest child, feeling responsible for the world,  rest and trust all is well, perhaps without your intervention.  I miss leaning into him, instead of on a cane.

Mercy and Justice for all( including basic healthcare). Reading Bryan Stevenson’s book Just Mercy continues to rattle me as a follower of Christ.  Bryan writes, “The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned…we all need mercy, justice and-perhaps-we all need some measure of unmerited grace.”

Downton Abbey, my grand diversion.  I miss the Dowager Countess Violet played by Dame Maggie Smith sparring with Isobel.

Isobel: “How are we today?

Violet: My dear, please stop talking to me as if I were a child past hope.”

(Or a Gramma)

Thankfully,  hope hasn’t gone missing.


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  • Reply Dan Russ May 9, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Jan, I love Kate’s perspective on how you( and all of us grands) embody the mystery of time past, time present, and in Christ time future. I am eternally grateful that our Lord Jesus entered into our mortal time and shattered its hopelessness. Gracias, Gramma!

  • Reply Nancy Mering May 9, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Just Mercy is such an important, disturbing and inspiring book. I wish everyone would read it. And Bryan Stevenson is a true hero–working against the entrenched systems that leave no room for mercy . . .

  • Reply Joyce Shea May 9, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    Jan – After reading your recent blog entitled ‘Life and Death Matters’, I just had to send you a note.
    John & I so enjoy your humor, inspiration, and insight. We hope you have hundreds or more! of followers.

    We love your Gramma allusions, and wanted to share this one with you. My mother loved to do our
    ironing, some she would take home to her apartment, some she would do on a Sunday afternoon at
    our house. What a gift that was to us! She often fretted that she couldn’t get it all done. Our son Andrew,
    then 6 or so, had the perfect answer, “Gram, don’t worry – you’ll get it done before you die!” Ever after, Gram
    always left one piece to be ironed in the basket – wise woman! When Gram was no longer able to stay in her
    apartment and was a resident at Seacoast, she would verbalize how frustrating it was that she could no longer
    do things for us. After several years she had difficulty standing or walking and just wanted to spend more
    time in bed. Still, as I came for a visit one day, she begged me to bring in my ironing board so she could
    iron a few things – so like your Mama!

    Wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day, we know Jud will have his hand on the back of your neck this Sunday!

    Much love, Joyce

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