Today is my grandmother’s birthday. She turns 82.
When I asked her if it was her 83rd, she replied “No” with an exclamation point and said that she apologized for being blonde, but it would take her another whole year to get to 83. She said, “But I’m up for anything…”
This conversation happened on facebook messaging.
I see TuTu more now (TuTu is what I call her of course) because she volunteers for us at least one day a week at Area Relief Ministries. We joked at the office just today about her requesting to close up shop one day after the office had closed, letting everyone know that she would close up shop because she hadn’t finished what she wanted to finish yet. We didn’t allow it, of course.
Some of my stubbornness comes from TuTu.
So does some of my shortness, my red checks, and my fast sweating. Those all come from TuTu as well.
And hopefully, my willingness at 82 years of age to be a part of what God is doing with the homeless, the at-risk, the materially poor, the families in crisis…hopefully being wiling to take part in the work of the kingdom at 82 years of age…not 83 yet…is some trait of TuTu’s that I will inherit beyond my 5’8″ stature and red, sweaty cheeks. If my height, cheeks, and temperature are inherited from TuTu, I’m proud of them too.
Even more so if I will redefine the 80s and 90s as times to pour into what God is doing in the world to make all things new, it will be a proud legacy. As my boss at ARM used to sing, “Age ain’t nothin’ but a number”.
I teach class at Union University a few days a week, and it brings me great joy to hear from students and acquaintances, “You are TuTu’s grandson, aren’t you. She has talked about you.” To work to keep up with my grandmother’s social calendar might bring me shame, but instead, it brings me great pride. To try to keep up with the textbooks she is reading on New Testament theology and Christian history might make me feel dumb, but instead it makes me ambitious.
To TuTu on her 82nd birthday, you make the passing of time seem like a great reward. Thanks for the legacy, and for my red, sweaty cheeks. All my love.