Lessons in Grace with Great Aunt (part 10)

31 Jul

Struggling with Grace

Taking care of Great Aunt brought an increased awareness to my own personal lack of grace. If I thought I had gained strides through being a wife and mother; this period of my life took the ongoing refining of my character to a whole new level.  The daily struggle to patiently love and selflessly serve, tested me far beyond where I been.  This was 24 hour, 7 day a week care.

…it was a somewhat typical busy day for our young large family.  I had a very new baby, the children had chicken  pox, Mark’s back was out and he was limited to bed rest. The day was cut out for me;  meals needed to be made, sick children tended, laundry done, baby fed and changed…  Great Aunt had eaten her breakfast and was appearing to enjoy the sunny sitting area in her room.

She beckoned me to bring her a glass of cold water. In between the continuous needs and questions of the children, I came back with a glass of cold water. Her response was less than happy. I had failed to put ice in the glass. Walking back to the kitchen meant being available to the children; their questions and needs quickly resumed. I was distracted. One had itchy pox, another’s fever was on the rise, baby was crying… when suddenly I remembered, Great Aunt wanted ice water!

Quickly I filled her glass with many chunks of ice and attempted again to cheerfully serve her.   With a sharp angry voice she replied, “Well, what took you so long?” I tried to defend myself, “Please be patient with me. Mark’s back is out, the kids are all sick, and I just had a baby and need to move slowly.” The response I received literally did me in. “Humph!” she crossly stated, “It’s not my fault you had a baby!” In a knee jerk reaction, I threw the ice water all over Great Aunt.

I quickly went outside and sat on the front step. What had I done!? I was ashamed and in tears.

Humbly I called my mother-in-law (Great Aunt’s niece) and confessed.

The unexpected grace I experienced that day, is one I will never forget.

“Becky, Great Aunt is living and breathing.  You have given her years of life she would not have had.  She hangs laundry, she plays with the children.  She has relationships with all of you. That is what relationships are – laughing, loving, and even getting angry, and making up.”

I regained my composure and faced Great Aunt again, with a fresh glass of ice water. Carefully, I handed it to her, apologizing for my behavior.  If she even remembered the incident, she never let on, but her disposition remained much sweeter for the rest of that day.

I want to treat others – I want to treat my family with the grace I received from my mother-in-law that day.


4 Responses to “Lessons in Grace with Great Aunt (part 10)”

  1. Deb Kinzer July 31, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    Thanks for your honesty, Becky! I howeled when I read this story. I could not visualize you doing that (me I could see. . . you, no!) And I am so thankful that you received the grace you needed and deserved. Isn’t it wonderful that our loving heavenly Father loves us just as we are, but too much to leave us there! I love reding these snipits of yours. It makes me somehow feel closer. I do miss you!

    • Becky August 1, 2011 at 6:09 am #

      Debbie, I often think of you as I write about Great Aunt. Your help and encouragement was a big part of getting us through that precious and valuable time in our lives. Likewise your comments on not without aim always bring a smile to me. Thank you!

  2. Viv Nelson August 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    Hi Becky,
    I just got done reading all ten parts of your story about Aunt Vi. You are remarkable, what a story lived out. You are to be commented. I knew when I would stop to visit her she was well taken care of. Your stories bring back lots of memories for me with Aunt Vi, in her healthier days tho. I loved the story about her clothes, she always did love bright colors. You & your family helped her live her last years with lots of love surrounding her & good care. Thanks for telling your story. Love to you & your family.
    Viv Nelson

    • Becky August 14, 2011 at 6:48 pm #


      I can’t tell you how much your comment means to me. Thank you for taking the time to not only read it but also to send me a note. I am hoping to finish the story of our journey together in the next month or so. Our family was blessed in many ways by having her in our home.

      We have very fond memories of you stopping at our house and would love to have you here, anytime. We have plenty of room!

      Much love to you,

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