Heavy Visiting

Part 7 of a 12 part look at Psalm 30

By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face;  I was dismayed.

Psalm 30:7

I love my Grandma D and I love to read.  To you, those may seem like two separate ideas, but I assure you, they are deeply intertwined.  

You see, I was Grandma’s favorite!  I know this because she told me so every time I saw her.  She also had a wicked sense of humor and I must admit that many of my palzewisms have been inspired by her.  I fondly remember a game that we played for many years.  When we would say good-bye, she would tell me, jokingly, “I don’t care what so and so says about you, you’re OK by me!”  Every time “so and so” would be the name of some random person, usually famous.  She had heard rumors about me from Charleston Heston, Bart Starr, and President Carter.  And I would always tell her what I heard from Fred Flinstone or Scooby-Doo!

I don’t care what your Mom says, you’re OK

Palzewism # 58

Grandma has been gone for almost thirty years but it’s about this time of year that I miss her the most.  Labor day weekend was usually a time when our family would head to upper Michigan to engage in what my older brother referred to as “Heavy Visiting”.  Living in Milwaukee, we would rarely see our relatives from the UP as much as my family would like.  Both my parents came from large families and feelings would be hurt if any of them found out we were up there and didn’t stop by to say hello.

These visits always followed the same formula.

Step one: We would all disembark out of the station wagon like butterflies emerging from a cocoon.

Step Two: We were expected to hug and kiss our Aunt and shake hands with our Uncle (I always wanted to reverse that one just to see what would happen)

Step Three: Each child was required to compete in a home game show that demanded you to know the answers to the following questions

What grade are you in now? Do you like your teachers? Are you respecting your parents?

Now, being the mischievous little boy that became a mischievous old man, I would have loved to have answered with some outrageous information.  I’d imagine telling someone I was a freshman in college when I was clearly in fifth grade, that my teachers were all aliens and yes, I always respected my parents.

After the answers were deemed satisfactory, the children were shooed away so the adults could have their “catching up” conversation.

Heavy visiting was not a lot of fun, especially when the house we ended up at had no kids.  Some places were better than others, but my favorite was Grandma D’s! 

I don’t know when it started, but Grandma always encouraged my love of reading.  Her visiting quiz was always two questions: “What are you reading?” and “Have you ever read (insert Title)”  Grandma always introduced me to the most amazing stories and adventures!  Through her guidance, I traveled the ocean floor in a submarine with a renegade captain.  I visited the center of the earth on an expedition and watched an abandoned baby grow up in the jungles of Africa.  I followed the yellow brick road and solved the most dastardly crimes from 221b Baker Street in London.

Since my birthday is the last day of August, Labor Day Weekend is when I would get my Birthday Book.  Sometimes it was wrapped, sometimes just the paper bag that it came in from the store but it didn’t matter!  I knew that I was in for a whole brand new adventure!  I would usually have the book finished before we left to return to Milwaukee and then read it again on the trip back.

Around High school, Grandma stopped picking out books for me and would just give me a five-dollar bill in my birthday card.  She would often write with a marker on the bottom “FOR A BOOK ONLY”.  One of my regrets is that I never kept one of those.

Grandma went to heaven in early 1993, shortly after Christmas.  Robin and I, along with our first boy, spent one of her last days together.  The last time I saw her, she handed me a twenty-dollar bill.  She hugged me and whispered in my ear “Go get a book from Grandma!”

By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face;  I was dismayed.

Psalm 30:7

In Psalm 30, verse 7, David praises the Lord for his FAVOR towards David.  When I think of God’s favor, I think of my Grandma.  Favor is defined as approval, support, or liking for someone or something.  In both David’s and my circumstance, there was nothing we did to earn our favor.  David was the smallest of eight brothers and far from what anybody would have considered “Royal” material.  David was a shepherd boy, a person assigned the lowest of jobs in his culture.  But God singled him out! In 1 Samuel 16, the prophet Samuel, guided by God, is sent to the house of a man named Jesse to seek out the new king. After reviewing the seven older brothers, he asked Jesse if this was all he had.  Jesse sent his boys to drag David from the pasture and Samuel anointed him “king”.

I wasn’t the only grandchild.  I wasn’t the oldest or the youngest.  I, like David, didn’t stand out.  But, Grandma always told me I was her favorite and made me feel special.

Many years later, at her funeral, what I had suspected for so many years finally was made known.  Sharing stories with my cousins, we were all told we were Grandma’s favorite.  And we all believed it!  Every single one of us had a special connection with our grandmother.  I had my Grandma Book.

I have been thinking about Grandma this week.  I received a birthday card from my Mom.  Inside was a $20 dollar bill with instructions that this is for my Grandma book.  I will eventually buy my Grandma book this year, but since my Kindle doesn’t have a slot for currency, I used the money for fast food meals this week

Although my Grandma has been gone from my life longer than she was in it, there is never a doubt in my mind that the attention and the love she presented to me was genuine.  She made me feel special, important, and meaningful.  She looked forward to seeing me and really wanted to know what I had been doing with myself since we last met.

Have you ever had someone care about you that much?  Believe it or not, you already do!

God loves you more than that special person ever could!  You are God’s favorite!  Before the beginning of time, God knew you!  He knows everything about you!  He is fascinated by you and wishes just to talk to you!  And the most amazing part is that he feels like that even if you don’t even know him at all!

I am constantly amazed that God, who knows everything I have ever done, said, or thought, still wants to have a relationship with me.  I think of all the times I have ignored him.  I’ve hurt him with my language and my selfishness.  I’ve ignored his creation and pursued my own goals, regardless of his plans for me.  I have disappointed him so many times.

But, I am still his favorite!  I know this because God knew that I would be this way and no matter how hard I try, there is nothing I can do to earn his favor.  I have his favor regardless of my actions because of Jesus.  He took my place, my punishment.  He lived a perfect life that I could never live and died a death that my sins deserve.  And, he did this for ME!

This is the hardest thing for people to wrap their heads around.  Jesus died for you!  Yes, he saved the whole world through his sacrifice but if you were the only sinner ever born, he would have done the exact same thing.

God Loves You!  He is whispering in your ear “You are my favorite!  I’ve got a book I think you should read!”

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for declaring me your favorite.  Help me to live up to that title by living my life in a way that makes you proud and regretting my actions deeply when they offend you.  

I thank you for reading my blog and look forward to any comments or criticism of what I have discussed.

If these words have impacted you, please feel free to share them by email or any social media platform.

You Turned My Mourning Into Dancing!”, my book, is available for purchase here.

2 thoughts on “Heavy Visiting

  1. Once again, you made me cry. I miss my mother so very much and I know I was her favorite! She did have a unique way of letting people know that she loved them and valued them. And don’t ever say you like something of hers because before you went out the door, it was in a bag and in your hands! God loved her a lot. And I did too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very good read. I have written many thoughts on mothers and your work reminds me of all those love situations I had with all the mothers I have engaged with; all the children I have helped raised and became ‘favorites’ in their families. Your story reminds me of many of those endearing ‘loves’ given me and like you said, we all were their favorites. (Aside: not sure if you have a typo in line: “Go get a book ‘from’ grandma”; I don’t think I understood it right. )

    Liked by 1 person

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