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Resting in Tranquility
I Pray My Grandchildren Will Know the Value of Resting
My grandchildren love to hear stories about my childhood. One of the fondest memories I (Annie) have shared is about spending five glorious days each summer at my Grandma Eckard’s house. The very thought of it today takes my mind back to a time when life, at least for a little while, was tranquil and, best of all, restful.
At Grandma Eckard’s house I got to be the “only child” since all her children were raised. This was a special treat because at home I was the fourth of six children living with my parents in a small, four-room house. As far as I was concerned, having my own room and a bed to myself was equivalent to staying in a five-star hotel. It didn’t matter that my resort retreat was an aging, two-story, clapboard house in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint.
At Grandma’s house there were no chores for me to do. I didn’t have to help with milking the cows, slopping the hogs, feeding the chickens, or taking care of my two younger sisters. In fact, there was nothing for me to do. It was a vacation consisting of rocking and talking on the front porch with Grandma. At her house I learned how sweet rest can be.
My two bachelor uncles who lived with Grandma made my vacation even more special. Uncle Raymond would go to town and bring back snacks and treats I never had at home: soda pop, M&M candies, doughnuts and canned potted meat. I looked forward to those few days from one year to the next.
There were amenities lacking at Grandma’s house that might have posed a problem for some children. I didn’t mind that she had no electricity, no running water, no indoor plumbing, no toys, no swing sets, and of course, no television or other modern technical trinkets that my grandchildren use for entertainment and recreation. I can’t even remember having a ball to play with. All I remember is sitting on the front porch and listening as Grandma talked.
I knew how to get the conversation started. All I had to say was, “Grandma, tell me about your brothers and sisters when you were growing up.” Although I’d heard most of the stories many times, I never tired of hearing them, and it seemed that she never tired of telling them. Recounting the events allowed her to revisit the people she missed and still loved dearly.
A faraway look would come to her eyes as she spoke. She would look straight ahead as though she were seeing a time that still existed—and all that was missing was her presence there. She would cry when she talked about the day her little brother, Granvell, asked his mom for a piece of chicken she was frying. He was told he’d have to wait until it finished cooking. Before the chicken was ready, the little boy was dead of the dreaded scarlet fever. Oh how Grandma grieved that Granvell didn’t get to eat one last piece of chicken. Sad stories like these, as well as others that were more lighthearted, were told on that old front porch. For a little while I got to live those time with Grandma.
Grandma Eckard’s house was only two miles from where my parents lived, but when I was there it felt like a million miles away. Even now I get that faraway feeling that was due to my perspective as a child. I also realize that it was likely that Grandma had things she could have…should have…been doing instead of sitting with me, but she sat with me and focused on my visit. In fact, I don’t recall ever seeing my grandmother that she didn’t have an apron on, so I know she constantly worked. Yet, somehow she made time to sit with me. What a great example she was as a grandmother. Even though she never met her great-great-grandchildren who now come to my house, they have her to thank each time I invite them to my back porch so we can spend time together.
Though my grandkids don’t live on an extremely busy dairy farm like I did, their lives are abuzz with homeschooling, church activities, ballet and music lessons. There are plenty of interest to steal their attention and keep them from resting. My hope is that they will learn at my house what I learned at my Grandma Eckard’s house—to sit for a while and rest and listen. That’s why I pray….
Father, in these crazy days filled with actions and distractions of every kind, I pray You will help my grandchildren understand the value of rest. Even though productivity is nearly worshiped in our world today, I ask You to help them not succumb to the deception that they are what they do and they their value is found in what they accomplish.
Please help them understand that they were designed by You to need rest. After all, You created this magnificent universe and then rested from Your labors. There remains a rest for Your people. The ones who have entered Your rest also rest from their works as You did Yours. Help my grandchildren see the importance of stepping aside and embracing the blessing of inactivity.
Even as You, Lord Jesus, found it necessary to get away by Yourself to a place of quiet and repose, guide my grandchildren to a peaceful, alone place where they can rest from the toils and stresses of their day. Help them seek rest for their hearts and souls. May they come to You when they’re weary and heavy-laden from troubles. You’ve promised to provide rest for their souls. I hope they’ll take up Your yoke and learn from You because You are gentle and humble in heart. In You they will find rest because Your yoke is an easy one and Your burden isn’t too heavy.
Please lead my grandchildren to the cool, green pastures of Your presence, where they can rest by the still waters and be restored. And it’s all right with me if those still waters are found on my back porch.
In Jesus’ name.
(Gen. 2:2; Heb. 4:9-11; Mark 6:31; Matt. 11:28-30; Psalm 23)