For her 75th birthday, my Granny talked my dad, her 4th born son, into driving her and my Great Aunt Dot out the see the Grand Canyon “before I die.”
Once they had made the long journey from North Georgia to the Grand Canyon, Granny turned to my dad and said “you know what else I want to see before I die? The giant redwood trees! We’ve come this far. We might as well go.” What else could my dad do but get everyone back into the car and go see those amazing trees. What’s another 2000 miles roundtrip with the trickster Granny in your car and in your heart?
Granny was a born again Christian who would speak of her salvation from cigarettes as a miracle worked in her life by Jesus Christ. When she died in 2007, two ministers preached her funeral and they began the service by saying “Granny wanted us to preach a full service today, complete with alter call, because she knew this was the last time she could make y’all all come to church.” I sat in that pew laughing through my tears of grief…and prayed that one day, I would have her courage, her ability to live faithfully into the mystery, even unto death.
My granny taught me to trust the mystery of the world, to delight in the many colorful stories that sustain our days, to ask for what I need to survive, to figure out how to thrive. She taught me to believe that I am loved and can love, no matter what. To believe that you are loved and can love, no matter what.
No matter what.
How Granny learned to live so bravely and unapologetically may always be a mystery to me. But I am ever so grateful for the lessons of her life, of her faithfulness, of her creativity.
Whenever we start to flag, to judge, to doubt, to tire, may we remember and be encouraged by the trickster energy of Granny.
We’ve come this far. We might as well go see the giant redwoods – host General Assembly in New Orleans in 2017, grow our faith in the Deep South, bend the arc of the universe toward justice – whatever faithful longing we carry in our hearts.
Let’s be brave, beloveds, and live into the mystery together.