“We walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
The power of sight is incredible. It gives us the gift of seeing vast assortments of colors, the beautiful faces of the people we love and the natural world that grows abundantly around us. Sight protects us from getting ourselves into situations that are potentially dangerous. It is said that seeing is knowing. I disagree. Even with the remarkable capability of seeing, it is difficult to fully understand all that lies before us. We each see through a perspective that is as personalized as our thumbprints. As humans, we walk around Earth as if we are in a corn maze. Sometimes we are heading down the right path and feeling great, but then we hit a wall. It makes no sense to us since we can only see what is directly in front of us, but God is above us with a perfect bird’s eye view. I hit my first major wall when my grandma, my favorite person in the world, passed away this year.
“Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart.” – Winnie the Pooh
My friend Gaby came home from her trip to Guadalajara and brought with her a dainty black and red bracelet with little beads that had eyes on them. As she put the bracelet on me, she explained the eyes represented security and God is always watching over me. To Gaby, I’m sure the bracelet was just a small souvenir from Mexico, but to me, the bracelet was a priceless symbol of protection and comfort. At the time of receiving my sweet gift, I was having a difficult time handling my grandma’s rapid decline in health. Within the span of 3 months, my grandma went from being Super Woman to in need of hospice care. My brain understood the known fact that everyone’s time on this earth is limited, but I took a huge blow to the heart when my grandma’s time was beginning to near. During the process of losing my grandma, the bracelet served as a daily reminder that God is watching over us, and even though I cannot see what is going to happen, God has a perfect view of the resolution.
“She is more precious than rubies” Proverbs 3:15
At the age of 86 my grandma was still cooking for her family, cleaning her house, taking her daily trips to HEB to use her beloved coupons and having her daily cup of coffee with her sister who lives down the street. She knew no other way of life than taking care of everyone around her. Ever since I was a little girl, I have had the deepest love for my grandma. There was something special about our connection. A couple of years ago, I made a habit of calling my grandma every night to chat and tell her good night. Our nightly talks brought me so much joy. Sometimes they would last for a minute and a half, just long enough to tell I loved her and sometimes the conversation would go on forever as she would give me the latest updates of the family happenings, helped me with my Spanish and listened as I would fill her in on my drama. I trusted her with everything.
A big reason I chose to attend Texas State University was because I knew I would be closer to her and the rest of my dad’s family in Elgin, Texas. Every weekend, I made the hour-long drive to my grandma’s house to have homemade tacos and be in the presence of the woman who always brought me such comfort. Being around her was healing and always seemed to ground me no matter how much stress I had in the moment. Seeing my grandma was like a recharge. I knew I could make it through each week because I would get to spend time refilling my tank at my grandma’s house on the weekend. Sometimes it was the only thing that got me through the week.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and burden is light.” Mathew 11:28-30
It is important to be grateful for the good things in your life because not all things are meant to stay forever. A dark cloud hung over my family as my grandma went in and out of the hospital and physical therapy for three months. It hurt me to see the toll it took on her sweet spirit. The lives of her five children and her grandchildren were turned upside down. We each tried to keep a positive outlook on the situation and clung on to the moments that seemed to bring the slightest bit of improvement. As weeks past, the realization grandma wasn’t coming back home set in and I tried to prepare myself for the inevitable. My grandma stayed in a hospice home for the last couple days of her life. The love and support of all of the family and friends who came to visit was present in the air. The day before she passed away, I asked to have a few moments alone with my grandma in her room. I sat next to her bed with her hand in mine and expressed my love and appreciation for her as tears rolled down my cheeks. I didn’t want her to leave this earth without knowing how much she meant to me. Although she couldn’t respond, I could see in her face that she felt every word I said. I kissed her forehead and removed my dainty black bracelet with the eyes on the beads and put it around her frail wrist. I told her God was watching and would take care of her up in heaven.
My grandma passed away the next night, January 2, 2018. The loving comfort from my boyfriend got me through that night. The previous week had been rainy, cold, and overcast, but the day following my grandma’s passing was clear without a cloud to be seen. The bright blue sky brought me peace because I knew my grandma was telling us she was finally pain free and happy. I received the bracelet I gave my grandma back from my dad when the whole family met up at her house the day after her passing. As I looked out upon all that lied before me, I touched the bracelet that was now mine again and knew I would cherish it forever.
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”- Winnie the Pooh
The price of allowing yourself to love someone with everything you have is the pain you feel when their time in your life is up. Even when my grandma was as healthy as could be, I always felt the sting of how much it would hurt when she was gone. I am grateful that, despite my awareness of how deeply attached I was to her, I never let fear inhibit our connection to grow and flourish every day. The joy-filled memories I have with her far outnumber the few sad memories toward the end of her beautiful life. The amount of people my grandma positively impacted in her 86 years is astounding. She cared for every single person she came across and never passed up an opportunity to serve someone. Her empathy and humility made her a saint in many people’s eyes, including mine. Her kindness and sense of service came from her unfailing devotion and love for God. She prayed the rosary every single day for everyone in my family.
My grandma was the glue that bound my family together and had a special way of making everyone she knew feel like they were valuable. She gave me 20 years of love, care and laughs. I am very blessed to have been a part of her impactful and beautiful life. I am so incredibly proud to be named after my grandma, Rebecca Rodriguez.
“I don’t know what the future holds but I know who holds the future.” Lee Strobel
So much good can come from difficult situations. Sometimes it feels like we are surrounded by a fog of uncertainty and fear of the unknown and all we want is our power of sight. I have learned that seeing does not necessarily mean understanding, and understanding may come much later than when we want. Change and transition have always caused me anxiousness and worry, but I am now beginning to realize those negative feelings stem from a lack of trust in God’s plan. He is watching us navigate our little mazes of life from above as He puts walls in front of us and opens doors of opportunity. My grandma’s passing, as well as other events this year, have shaken things up for me. I wish I could say I have handled it all with grace and ease, but I cannot. It took me awhile of frustration, worry and setbacks to finally realize I need to release my tight grip on the situations and allow God to mold them into whatever He sees best.
I feel like I am still in the middle of a fog at times, but this may be an opportunity for me to practice patience and trust while God works everything out for me in the things I cannot see. The process of building a mentality of peace while you are not able to see what is coming your way is terrifying, but also the most important skill we can learn. So many blessings blossom from heavy rain and we can rest in knowing that God is always working in our best interest.
Thanks for reading,