I grew up the first four years of my life in the south end of Louisville, Kentucky with my mom Tina’s parents, Lila and R.C., and her younger sister (Aunt Rita). My mom was in and out of the hospital a lot with heart trouble, so I pretty much made myself at home at my grandparents’ house. Aunt Rita said that when I was born, she thought I was better than ice cream, and she later told me that I was like a little brother to her. Aunt Rita would take me to Winn-Dixie and people would stop her and ask, “Oh, is that your little boy?!” Aunt Rita and I were only thirteen-years apart.
Later, after my younger sister Melissa was born, our parents decided that my mom’s parents were unable to take care of me and Melissa. We moved into a townhouse in southeastern Louisville near my dad Wayne’s grandmother Margaret (Maw Maw) and her husband Bill. Dad’s younger half-sister Denita and her husband at the time, Donny, also lived in that same apartment complex.
When I was five-years-old and Melissa was three-years-old, our mom passed away. I remember walking towards Dad at the funeral home, crying and holding my arms out, when I realized that my mom wasn’t going to get up out of that casket, but Melissa and I were too young to understand what really happened. I remember some of our neighbors watching us after my mom died, but most of the time, my dad put us in the care of Maw Maw and Papaw Bill while he went to work. Sometimes Aunt Denita would pick us up from our great-grandparents’ in the evening and watch us until Dad got off of work. Aunt Becky, Dad’s younger sister, would pick us up from our great-grandparents’ apartment on Thursday evenings, and she would watch us at our apartment until Dad got home from work. That was usually fun, because we got to play games with our older cousin Mandy. Mandy and I sometimes acted like big sister and little brother. But God is always watching us, and He made sure that if Dad had to be busy someplace else, Melissa and I had someone to supervise us.
Have you ever tasted luke-warm water? You spit it out don’t you? That’s the way that God is with us. If God asks you to do something, He expects you to do it with a good attitude, or He would rather have you not do anything for Him at all. God wants us either hot or cold. You’re there or you’re not. God also doesn’t trust people who use their good deeds to get their way, because that only shows that they’re working for self-gratification and not to please Jesus.
Maw Maw not only was the first person to tell me those things in words, but she also set an example. Maw Maw has taken care of our family for generations. When she does something, she doesn’t gripe, complain, or accuse others of taking what she does for granted. Maw Maw is quiet. If a good deed that Maw Maw does for someone goes unappreciated now, she simply carries on with the work that God has for her to do, because she knows that there will come a day when that person will be thankful for that good deed.
As I write this, my great-grandmother Margaret is nearly ninety-one-years-old. She is slowed by some problems with her right knee, but she still persists in doing what she can for others.
I believe that God has allowed Maw Maw to live so long, because she knows, and gratefully accepts, His will for her life. When Maw Maw one day goes to Jesus, she’ll have left behind a great example for us to follow.