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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Frnka

Pray in All Things

My grandmother passed away this summer, but not without leaving us with some precious gifts. She was a significant influence in our lives.


Growing up we shared many family traditions: grandparents weekend at deer camp, deer camp Mass, christmas music, church hymns, polka music, kolaches, homemade bread, chicken noodle soup, mashed potatoes, and more. As our family grew, it was rare that we were all together, but we enjoyed the moments that we had together.


Our grandparents were an incredible team. They truly rallied around one another and supported each other. They were not the “rah, rah” type of cheerleaders, but very simply they took care of one another. They were patient with and complemented each other’s shortcomings. They never harbored resentment towards one another.


They LUVED each other --- listened, understood, valued, empathized and continued to date each other. Just a few years ago we learned that they first met when Grandma was 3 and Grandpa about 5. They loved telling stories and often we would learn about something Grandma and Grandpa did early on in their relationship. Just knowing that they were in the same room together helped them both to feel more comfortable and confident.


They had arguments, yes, but they ironed it out, apologized to one another, maybe snuck in a little kiss, and then they moved forward holding onto love for one another.


Grandma was typically a quiet person. She never said much about anyone or anything - she let grandpa do most of the talking unless it was about one of the grandchildren or an illness they were battling.


I think she found comfort in talking about their health issues. I saw many times that as a result of talking with someone grandma might learn some valuable information that would eventually help her or grandpa or even one of us. In addition, I think many times that through conversation she found healing and her hope was restored.


She had tremendous faith in God. She prayed the rosary every afternoon as she laid down to rest. She truly believed that He led her life and that spilled over into the relationship that she and Grandpa had. He trusted her and she trusted him. And, as a result they were able to build a beautiful family and maintain so many friendships with other people.


They loved when people stopped to visit and enjoyed going to all sorts of functions, volunteering, and being involved in so many different communities. Most especially, they loved attending their grandkids’ functions and visited with us often. You were always guaranteed coffee would be served.


Grandma’s brain always amazed me because she knew everyone’s birthday by heart ---there were over 40 of us --- she didn’t have the dates written down anywhere. Like clockwork they would call every year to sing Happy Birthday to us, even if they would see us later that day.


She cooked, she canned, she sewed, she gardened, she took care of 8 children, and grandpa. Plus, she pitched in to care for so many more, yet she never hurried. She always took her time, enjoyed the moment, and always made you feel welcome.


I remember talking with her about a project our oldest daughter had to do for school once. It involved planning life after high school. Grandma said she guesses she should have planned for life a little bit better when she was in high school, but she never really wanted to do anything more than raise a family. She said if she had to pick a career she would have probably been a teacher or maybe worked at a restaurant, but she never really thought about doing anything else because she always felt like her place was there, at home with grandpa.


I think home, for grandma, was a place of refuge and safety. It was a place that provided joy and excitement. It was a source of happiness and a place where everyone belongs because just by her very nature grandma made it feel that way.


Never once did we hear grandma utter a negative word about or to anyone. She had peace about her. A piece of her heart for grandpa, a piece of her heart for her own children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, a piece of her heart for everyone else, and her entire heart dedicated to God.


Once when we were taking clothes off the clothesline, I was complaining about how hot it was outside, she told me that she likes to make the time go by faster by singing or praying while she works. So, we prayed to St. Michael, then we said a few Hail Mary’s and finally we prayed The Angel of God.


We prayed and I invite you to pray with me:


Angel of God, my guardian dear,

to whom God's love commits me here,

ever this day be at my side,

to light and guard, to rule and guide.

Amen.


Our work that day went by quickly, but it left a lasting impression on me. Pray in all things.


1 Corinthians 16:14 tells us to do all our work in love. And, our grandma did exactly that. Everything she did she did in love and service to our Lord. There’s not a doubt in my mind, not even one that our grandma isn’t flying around, doing loop de loops around us each day. She was always so excited to see us come around.


Ya’ll have a beautiful day!

All My Love,


Jen


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