I've done some pondering this weekend on the way life often goes. You see, my grandmother had a heart attack. That alone would be enough to incur pondering on life, but it was the events that led up to the heart attack that really are stirring up the meditation.
I should start by saying that as far as I know, Grandma is okay. She did have massive surgery yesterday (quintuple bypass, I was told), but I haven't heard anything since then, which I am taking to mean everything is going as expected for a recovery
Now that that is established, my story begins a week ago from Saturday. It was a lovely day and I was up at a decent hour and grocery shopping for our family trip to Bear Lake. I was quite pleased with the prospect of a Saturday with no plans, since that doesn't happen very often. In fact, the pleasure of having a day to myself and anticipation for the coming trip were creating such a feeling of exuberance within me that somehow after the groceries were all put away, I found myself elbow-deep in grime in the kitchen, attacking the splashboards and the oven in an attempt to remove a few years' worth of junk.
Sometime during this auspicious situation, my phone rang and I was surprised to see Grandma's name pop up on the screen. Grandma loves to talk, but she's never called me to just chat.
This was no exception. It became clear within two seconds that this was no social call. Grandma was very agitated and calling for . . . comfort? Advice? Reassurance? Maybe all of the above. It turned out that she had left Idaho Falls that morning to fly to Kentucky, via Salt Lake. My cousin Nathan was getting married in Kentucky a week later (so that would be day before yesterday now- congratulations, Nathan!) and she was flying out to assist and to be there for the wedding. However, she had gotten a call from her sister Shirley that morning as she had left the house to say that Shirley's husband had just passed away. Shirley lives in Vernal, where Grandma grew up. Now Grandma was at the Salt Lake airport on a layover and didn't know if she should continue on to Kentucky or change her flight plans and go to Vernal for a few days to be with her sister. She had called all of her children to get their advice, and gotten conflicting opinions. Then it occurred to her that I live in Salt Lake, so if she did end up going to Vernal on the bus, she could stay with me until the bus left. So she gave me a call.
I could tell under the conflicted surface that her heart really wanted to be in Vernal, and I suggested as much. After I said that out loud, it didn't take long before she agreed that she would change her flight plans and then step out of the airport for me to come pick her up. Which I did, in my grimy clothes.
Grandma ended up sitting at my table for most of the afternoon making phone calls to make a bus reservation, contact the appropriate people to let them know what she was doing (including all six of her children, I believe), and writing everything out so she could remember it all. After I changed my clothes, we met up with Uncle Gordon for dinner and a lovely stroll through Red Butte Gardens, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite places in Salt Lake. And as we meandered around the gardens at sunset and felt the cooling desert air amidst all those glorious plants, I was glad that I got to be an angel for my grandma that day.
I was still glad when I dropped her off at the bus depot the next day only to discover that she had been given the wrong time for the bus to Vernal and we would be required to get up at about 5:15 the next morning (Monday) to get her on the next bus out. I was even glad when I got up before the crack of dawn and drove to the bus depot again.
However, I was even more grateful when Friday rolled around and I received the slightly sobering news. Grandma made it to Vernal just fine and from there to Kentucky. It wasn't until after she arrived in Kentucky that she had the heart attack, requiring quintuple bypass surgery and a multi-week stay in Kentucky before she's strong enough to come back out to the west. She is doing well and has an excellent prognosis. However, the likelihood of her making it out to Vernal to see her family in the near future is very small.
So she made it out there in a timely manner and I got to serve her in getting there. How often do I get an opportunity to be God's hands where I get to see the results so clearly? I feel pretty blessed.