How My Grandmom shrunk her world is a lesson for Us All!
Often, glaring TV "breaking news” or “horrendous morning headlines” overwhelm us. We don’t know how to go about fixing the problems, remedying the volatile situations, or simply making a difference that will change these situations. Then I think about how my Grandmother fixed her problems when they seemed too big to handle. Grandma humbly “shrunk her world” and made it manageable. She stretched paychecks when food became scarce, or clothes for school had to be bought and mortgage payments paid. She shrunk her world to be proactive--instead of waiting for life to happen around her. Grandmom made it work!
One tender memory stands out. My grandfather was extremely ill, and the doctors decided to stop all treatment. My grandmother took over. She decided to walk barefoot in the upcoming Saints procession through our parish streets. Now this was no easy task, as it was June and the summer sun was just beginning to bake the streets of the procession’s route.
Yet, Grandmom choose to do what she was able to do. Shrinking her world, she turned to faith, and her trust in God. She reduced her sad situation to a realistic size capable of her handling. She walked the two hour route in her barefeet, praying her rosary, telling God of her love for Him, and asking God for His mercy for her husband.
What I admire about this story is how my Grand mom didn’t sit wringing her hands and crying “poor me.” Instead she reached for what she knew--her confidence in God and prayed. Now Grandpop later died, but a satisfied wife knew she gave this situation all she had. My Grandmother literally shrunk her "world" and acted.
This great life lesson still remains with me today. Instead of asking why this is happening, our faith teaches us to ask--“Now that this is happening. How can I manage it in the best way possible?” And like Grandmom--with God’s help we can, and we will feel better--no matter the outcome.
This was Grandmom’s approach to life, an immigrant who never quite learned the language, but still managed her family quite well. She simply made her life a size she was able to handle--and then lived it by acting.
Like Grandmom, we can’t let life overwhelm us, rather we have to reshape it into a "doable" size and act. For instance, we realize that we can’t feed all the hungry in our world, but we can start with those we see around us. We also know that we can’t shelter all the homeless, but again we can try with those who "live" near us. Finally, we know that we can’t erase all the intolerance and bigotry in this world today, but we can remove the strands of small-mindedness that linger in our lives.
In these ways “shrinking the world” becomes a practical way of tackling the bigger picture. In the future, remember when life’s difficulties swamp us, reach for my Grandmother’s approach–and “shrink your world”--and it will work!