My maternal grandmother is blessed with wits that well match her cheer and constant laughter. Stories she has told us by candlelight, by the fireplace, and outside her house as we enjoyed the warm sunny afternoons, still linger in my mind and will probably stay in my heart for as long as I’ll be able to remember.
Grandma had a beautifully furnished bedroom. It was nothing fancy. Just a small room, but very neat (I carry those perfectionism genes 😀 ), clean and decorated with beautiful crocheted cloths and simple antiques. She referred to it as her ‘sanctuary’. The first time I walked into it, I knew then why she spent so much of her morning time locked up in there, singing hymns and praying. I certainly would choose to stay in there and write, listen to music, read or just sleep.
One rainy evening, my cousins and I followed our doting grandmother, and huddled in her ‘sanctuary’, where she offered us a snack of dry-fried maize meal (Where I come from, this is a delicacy that one prepares as you would roasted groundnuts – but with sugar. Popcorn of sorts 🙂 ). We loved listening to her, loved her cheery voice and definitely her stories. On this day, the occasional, loud claps of thunder would make us all jump and there was no telling just how the sight of lightning flashes had us sacred. She laughed – really laughed.
“That shouldn’t scare you at all. You know why? That’s just the angels in heaven, rearranging God’s furniture.”
I was surprised. In all the few years I had lived, I had never heard such an explanation for thunder before. I had read stories in the story books at school about gods getting angry at humans; none of them fascinated me as much as her explanation. Grandma was smart and wise…in my eyes, at least. Surely, she had lived all these years; she must know the ‘whys’ behind everything.
I couldn’t help smiling as I pictured white-robed angels with feathery wings, shoving sofas and chairs and TV sets across the bare wooden floors of heaven. Heaven must be a beautiful place if it needed such frequent décor make-overs. And by jove, what a fracas these ‘perfect’ beings seemed to make! Without doubt, this heightened my awe and respect for angels as I’d imagined them in my young mind.
Having grown up and my perspectives shaped by education, experience and religion, I know for sure that my grandmother helped to spur my desire to read, curiosity and creative abilities, in thought and deed. But what amazes me all the more is the ease and grace with which she carries herself throughout the seasons of life as they unfold. Childhood tales aside, she often reminds us of the sovereignty of God – that He is in control of everything and is our all in all. Speaking to her recently reminded me of this – as she painstakingly tried to incorporate newly-learnt English phrases in the conversation. I loved and still love the way this beautiful woman talks. “Angels moving furniture…” 😀