Ministry vs. Mutuality

Two weeks ago, my parents loaded up their car with their suitcases and my grandmother (Nanny) and drove from Pennsylvania to Tennessee to spend some time with my sister and me.  Really, they just came to see my sister’s kids, but we’ll pretend it was to see all of us.

They arrived on Monday.

On Tuesday morning, my grandmother had an accident.  A trip led to a fall which led to suspicions that she had broken bones, which led to an ambulance ride to a hospital where it was confirmed she had broken her shoulder and hip, which led to a surgery, which led to a quandary for the family; she can’t make the 13 hour drive home, or a plane ride that distance.

We cried, we prayed, we found a great rehabilitation facility for her…  in Nashville.  Away from her home and all of the rest of the family.

Since my grandfather passed away in June, my sister and I have said many times that we wished that we lived closer to my grandmother so that we could spend time with her, sit with her, and keep her company in her quiet apartment.  I have a new passion for “caring for the widows” since witnessing the deep mourning and loneliness of someone dear to me.

And through a very unexpected accident, I am getting my wish.  I get to see my grandmother every other day.

I’ve shared with some close friends about this turn of events, and through one of those conversations, someone I love complimented me for “ministering so well to my grandmother.”

The truth is, I don’t feel as though I ministering to her.  As I sit beside her a few times a week, I am learning how to come into a conversation without an agenda.  I am learning how to sit in quiet.  I am learning how to stop my racing mind and mental to-do list and be present in a conversation.  I am learning patience.  I am learning to listen intently.

When we visit, we read the Bible together.  I get to see all of her underlines and meaningful bookmarks that she has put in her Bible.  I am learning about her relationship with God.  When we visit, we pray together.  She musters all of her strength from her fading voice, and I watch as she boldly approaches God’s throne.  In the midst of deep grief and intense physical pain, she is thinking constantly of others.

When we talk, she is open about her grief over the loss of my grandfather.  She talks about the quiet and loneliness.  She has no shame as tears fill her eyes, and she says in a whisper, “I loved him so.”  She reminds me to love and cherish my husband well.

I’m clearly not the one who is doing the ministry, I am the recipient of ministry.  A few times a week, I have the privilege of being ministered to by my strong and beautiful grandmother, who is teaching me to be a better listener, a more faithful follower of Christ, and a more loving wife.

I am cherishing this time.

And may I always remember that life is about reciprocity, mutuality, and relationships.

8 thoughts on “Ministry vs. Mutuality

  1. I was close to tears when I finished this. My grandma and I always lived far apart when I was growing up, but when I was attending Asbury, she was only about an hour away from campus. I spent a lot of weekends with her, learning about her life, hearing stories about my grandpa as a young man, cooking together, going shopping, watching old Cary Grant movies, and attending her church. That season was such a gift, because she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer during my junior year and died just a few months later. I am so sorry that your grandmother had the fall, and I know there are complications and heartache that come with every situation like that, but I am rejoicing with you in your time with her. It’s precious. Praying for a full recovery and a relationship that continues to grow richly.

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