Sunday, November 4, 2012

ON FAMILY ~ Faithful Roots...

Image courtesy Hannah @ Mama Whimsy

At the age of 45, writer Regina Brett wrote a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer listing 45 lessons that life had taught her thus far. As a breast cancer survivor, many of those lessons were learned the hard way. Five years later she added five more lessons rounding her list up to 50 and turned her popular list into a book called God Never Blinks. I found her list to be entertaining, inspiring and thought provoking. I thought I would go through each of her lessons learned and write about how that lesson has or has not come up in my own life, now that I am over 40 and feel old enough to have finally learned something.
"Read the psalms no matter what your faith, they cover every human emotion."
~ LESSON #38

I must first preface my thoughts on the above by saying that I recently realized, after 45 "50 Lessons" posts, that the chain letter of this list that I was working off of was quite inaccurate in the order of Ms. Brett's actual list. I went back and corrected all of my previous entries to match the correct Lesson number. Which is why you find me covering Lesson #38 just now. You will find the remaining lessons to be in random order. For myself, who values accuracy and proper quotation, this is annoying. For you, it shouldn't make any difference - the lessons and my thoughts are in the end, the point - not their order of appearance.)

My grandmother was a woman of strong faith. Both of my grandmothers were, in fact. I'm not sure if their devotion skipped some generations or what exactly, but my parents, and myself as a result, are not big churchgoers. My religious teachings essentially ended when I entered high school - probably a time they would have provided a lot of good moral lessons that I otherwise ignored altogether ;0) I always enjoyed church and the bible stories that were imparted to me as a child. As an adult, I decided to pick up my Bible and read through it, rather than reading whatever modern fiction was on my radar at the time. I do love a good classic after all.

The trouble I had with my attempt at reading the Bible was that it felt like reading Shakespeare - the language threw up a roadblock to something I wasn't completely enthusiastic about to begin with. Truth be told, when I entered into more unfamiliar territory the farther along I went, I got lazy and gave up.

My grandmother didn't give up. At her funeral, the preacher read to us from her own Bible. It was clear that my grandmother's favorite book was indeed The Good Book. Her love, devotion and personal connection to the scriptures inside were evident by the margins filled with her personal notations and well worn, dog-eared pages.

My grandmother's religious practice may not have filtered down to me in the same way, but I did inherit her propensity to fill my beloved books with myself; scribbles, notations, markings and turned down pages.

I want to revisit my grandmother's favorite book. I wish that I had her own copy at my disposal to infuse my reading with her personality. I believe that my uncle has this prized possession, as he should. But I do have a lot of her personality already within me. In fact, both of my grandmothers' personalities thrive within me. They were headstrong, forward thinking, fiercely protective, and devoted. I come from excellent stock. And because headstrong is a polite way to describe someone who is stubborn, I have no excuse but to begin my goal again and forge ahead.

And who knows, perhaps I'll decorate my Bible with my personality as I read along, leaving something for my son to have when he's in need of some extra guidance.


stacybuckeye said...

I love this post Molly! Your love for your grandmothers rivals my own for my grandmother who I saw today, wasting away in a nursing home. She too is a woman of faith and I am so happy that she instilled that into my mother and into me. I hope to instill faith into Gage. It's a poweful life tool.
I think marking up your Bible with you is a beautiful gift to yourself and little Sam. Having said all that I can say that my Bible has been sadly neglected for quite a while. I need to look to a psalm :)

Lin said...

Being raised a Catholic, I've never been a big bible reader. We don't really do bible studies like other faiths, so we don't carry around bibles and take notes and such. Well, those Catholics I know don't.

We have always prayed as a family, but I am empty when I enter those 4 walls called the "church." I think we have faith, but I'm not sure where it is at the moment and I don't turn to the bible typically.

Raising children in a faith can be a challenge if you don't know where you are on the subject. I hope you figure it out better than I did.

Margot said...

What a wonderful post Molly. Your experience reminded me of mine with my mother. Her Bible was almost completely underlined, had notes in the margins, post-its on various pages, and all sorts of bookmarks and other papers were in there. She and my dad were positive examples of living a life of faith.

Prior to her death my mom gave me a list of her favorite scriptures. She said those were the ones she wanted to be remembered by. I read three of them at her funeral and it resonated with all of her large family and friends.

I totally agree with the lesson about reading the Psalms no matter what your faith. Reading one Psalm a day is a habit my parents established in my early childhood. I think one of the important values of the Psalms is that the practice establishes a sense of gratitude daily. I'm currently using a set of the Psalms in everyday English that I downloaded on my kindle. Different but still effective.

kelley jensen said...

I agree with the previous comments, this was a wonderful post that evokes tender feelings in me. I own my great grandmother's bible that is annotated much as you describe plus it is filled with clippings of poetry and artwork that compliment the passages. Deaths and births are lovingly recorded on the fly leaf. I'm not sure how I came to have the honor of owning such a lovely treasure but I am grateful that it came to me. I also have my dad's scriptures, but he didn't write in them so much. I would have loved to have my mothers as she was a great scriptorian who taught me to love the Gospel of Christ. My faith is firm and unshakeable and centered on Jesus Christ my Savior. I fervently hope that when I pass on my children will quibble over who get's mom's scriptures. It is a comforting thought--a tangible token of my faith for my children to hold in their hands. Thanks for sharing today. I really enjoyed this post.

PS--how is the little one healing?

Sandy Nawrot said...

Both of my grandmothers were incredibly religious, and while my parents didn't EVER go to church, we always went when we stayed with our grandparents. That must have planted some kind of seed in me, because when I met my husband and found that he was a pretty devout Catholic, I started going to church with him, then eventually converted before our kids were born. It is now an everyday part of our lives, and I get comfort from it. We actually do bible studies at our church, and there is one I have that has the bible as it stands, then cliff notes (sorta) in the margins to help figure out what is going on. When I converted, I read the entire thing cover to cover, and these notes really helped. It can get pretty dense in the Old Testament!

Kathleen said...

That Bible sounds like a wonderful keepsake. My mom and dad are both very devout and read the Bible every day. I'm sure after they have passed I will enjoy many hours reading their scribbles and noting the passages they have underlined.

Janet said...

Does your Uncle live close by? Perhaps you could photograph some of the pages :-) Lovely post!