Friday, March 18, 2011

Grandma Z and Sabbath

I learned some lessons about rest, while being with my 90 year old grandmother, this past week.

I remember my grandmother as a loving, caring, hard-working woman.

Grandma Z, as we called her (her last name is Zimbelman) - was an elementary school cafeteria cook. I think every person schooled in America must have a strong "mental image" of the "Cafeteria Cook Lady" in their mind. It seems to me whether you remember your elementary school, middle-school, or high-school "Cafeteria Cook Lady" - we each have "that image" of "that person" in our mind for the Cafeteria School Cook.

Funny for me, no matter how hard I try, I can't "image(ine)" my Grandma Z as "that" lady. I mean. I know she probably wore the white smock-type outfit. I know she had the big round arms that ladled out the food on the compartmentalized food plate tray. I know she probably wore the obligatory hair-net. But I can not image(ine) her as that person, as I never saw her as that person. I saw her as my Grandma who sat down to meals with us and loved us. I realize my Grandma *is* the image of a Cafeteria School Cook Lady for hundreds of kids - maybe thousands - who grew up in Minot, North Dakota. But, for me, she is not that.

But, I digress.

I went to spend some time with her this past week - as it was her 90th Birthday.

I asked Grandma if she had any "pearls of wisdom" to share with me.

She replied, "No."

Now, mind you, it was a long, drawn out, scratchy from asthma, "No" - but it was simply a "No."

But, as I asked her more specific questions and drew on her years of life.

I learned from her words - and from my reflections on her life - that hard work matters, as well, intentional time with family matters - times of worship and rest matter.

I will not post all the details here - or now - but, among other things, Grandma narrated how she and her sister worked 6 days a week, for 10 coal miners, preparing, serving, and cleaning 3 meals per day - so that each of them could earn three dollars per week. She didn't say it directly, but she noted - she worked six days per week, not seven.

Grandma Z retold the story about how my Grandfather died (before I was born) and how, since that time, she remained a faithful employee and faithful person of worship, in her local church. Though times were hard with Grandpa's passing, and though she still had kids to raise, she made sure that her work was balanced with times of worship, sabbath and rest.

Grandma Z said she didn't have any "pearls of wisdom" for me - but her life story narrates something more.

Sabbath rest is and was an integral part of her life's work - and as a result of that alone, I should think more attentively and seriously about giving more focus to it for my life.

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