In November my Grandma Harriet died. She was actually my step-grandmother, but the way she cared and loved me, there was nothing “step” about it. The thing I remember most about her was that she loved her family, she loved Tupperware, and she was frequently smiling. She always made divinity (white fudge) at Christmastime and she and Floyd, my paternal grandfather, would always come to our house on Christmas Day because it was my dad and brother’s birthdays. She would bring a Tupperware of divinity and sit around the living room talking with me and telling me and my parents about all the wonderful things her other children and grandchildren were up to. Then she’d help set the table or do final preparations for the meal. We’d enjoy our meal, exchange gifts, and then they’d head home.
She changed the world.
At her service in December, the grandchildren gathered on stage for a picture. There wasn’t enough room for everyone! At least twenty-five grandchildren were gathered; many with their own children cradled in their arms or huddled around their feet. Harriet left a legacy of people who loved her, people whom she’d loved first. She loved because she was loved by God.
This is how the world will change. Not from politicians and presidents, or any one person who does great things. The world will change as each person accomplishes what is laid in front of them, loving and serving. For Harriet, it was her children, step-children, grandchildren, step grandchildren, her children’s friends and people she met at the grocery store or her Tupperware parties. She loved who was in front of her.
Who is in front of you? Many more diverse people than you know. And I’m not talking diversity strictly in the race sense of the world. Diversity in the woman living down the street living a life completely different from yours; a life of force and coercion, a life under someone’s thumb and control. I didn’t see it for a long time; I only saw what I wanted to see. But, looking a little closer, there are many sisters right in front of me that I have the opportunity to love.
My friend Scott asked me to be a part of the Peoria Home Thrill of Hope Fundraiser. The idea was to post on social media every day in December a picture of a candle as a symbol of hope to those in sex trafficking. The tag was “Light a Candle, Share your Hope.” I’m so glad I was able to participate. I chose to post a picture of a successive candle each day and organized the content of my posts by the lyrics to “O Holy Night.” It was a challenge for a good cause. But I was unprepared for how it would prick my heart for loving those in front of me.