Extravagance

unnamed-1Each of her beds had a remote. Pushing the buttons would cause the blankets to tug and sometimes catch between the two twin beds pushed together. My grandma, with her salon-styled hair (she went every 5 days or so) would lie beside me as we both read a book. Reading a book with another person can sometimes be a bit odd. The silence can be loud. This was not the case with my grandma and me. My fascination with the remote control bed was likely distracting to her, but she never said anything. I remember wondering how it made her feel to have someone else lying in my grandpa’s bed.

We would each read through one of her volumes of collected articles from Guidepost Magazine. I found the stories fascinating. I asked her questions primarily about angels, supernatural healings and her trips to the Holy Land. I loved the story of her being baptized in the Jordan River by Hal Lindsey. She had a swim cap on-I can still see the picture. Another picture, from the same trip, had what seemed to be actual flames above a group of people’s heads as they prayed in the “upper room” in Jerusalem. Her experiences were extravagant and I loved hearing about them.

We usually ate dinner on the couch while watching Angela Lansbury in “Murder, She Wrote.” On the table in front of the couch was her “prayer box”. She would write down prayer requests of the people that she had encountered throughout the week. When her neuropathy kept her from sleeping at night, she would pray through the box. “I figure the Lord has me up for a reason,” she’d tell me. My grandma’s bathtub was enormous and I felt like I was in a swimming pool with bubbles spewing up from the jets. I could see into her walk-in closet from the bathtub. People frequently commented on her classiness. The only time I saw her in casual clothes was at bedtime, but even then, there was something about her that could not be dressed down.

The morning sun warmed my grandma’s breakfast room, which was full of windows on the east side. We would always eat strawberries and croissants. From time to time, I still crave that combination. I remember the sunlight piercing through the branches of the towering pecan trees in her backyard, scattering the light through the windows. Her backyard resembled a park with a large fairway down the middle-just perfect for football games with my brothers and cousins.

She only drove Cadillacs. The immaculate inside had so many buttons. The seat would automatically scoot back when she opened the door and then inch forward until her feet touched the pedals after she sat down. I loved touching all the buttons. She drove fast down the rural streets of my home town. “My car begins to shimmy each time I hit 70,” she once complained to her mechanic.

I miss her.

I see some of her extravagant qualities more clearly now. My grandma was over the top in the way she cared for other people. She was a bit ridiculous when it came to giving her money away. Some might say that she wasn’t too discerning with the type of people that she helped financially. In awkward places like grocery store check-out lines or dentist office waiting rooms, she would have the audacity to pray for people.  My grandma knew the names of her stylist’s children and what school they attended. Near-strangers trusted her with their marital problems. She had an uncanny ability to make others feel important by remembering obscure dates and facts that were meaningful to them.

I recall people filing in for her funeral service. There wasn’t nearly enough room for everyone.

My grandma’s extravagance gave me a glimpse of God’s love for me. His love doesn’t make much sense. I think about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well and His discussion with Peter on the shore, sitting around the fire. I am fascinated by the parable of the Father running to meet his youngest son after he wasted his inheritance. He even praised a woman for pouring expensive perfume all over his feet and then wiping the excess with her hair.

Frugality is a virture but I crave that kind of extravagance.

How deep the Father’s love for us,

How vast beyond all measure

That He should give His only Son

To make a wretch His treasure

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Becky is a stay-at-home mom to two wonderful and busy boys.