My parents repeat it often.
Be it when I leave the kitchen a mess after cooking up a storm.
When I arrive home late and leave early again the next morning.
When I’m “burning the candle at both ends” – again.
When I duck to the shops to return an item and end up purchasing three more.
When I mope around on a Sunday night questioning church politics or Anglican processes.
When I buy yet another ream of fabric or another necklace to add to the collection.
“I knew someone else like that.”
It’s been five years since she left us to go to glory.
Some days I feel the time has passed quickly and it was only last week she gave me a big tight hug for getting As on my report, telling us to just grab another towel after a long summer’s day in the pool or gifting one of her old necklaces. Other days I wish I could just sit with her again, listen to her wisdom and laugh as we teach her to use the latest camera/phone/computer the man at the shops told her she must have. I alternate between being thankful iProducts came out at the end of her life and being selfishly upset the old versions were never circulated because she just had to have the latest version.
She was an adventurer and never settled for the status quo. She backpacked Europe with her sister in the early 50s, raised a family in central Thailand in the 60s and 70s and then travelled to China, UK, Cambodia and Thailand in her 70s. Always reading, always learning, she went back to uni to become a teacher at age 55.
Opening her home to refugees, international students and migrant workers, returning to the mission field after the death of five missionaries and their seven children and always quick to give of her belongings, time and money – she was always generous.
Waking and committing every day to the Lord, she learnt to trust his leading, be it to England for nursing school, Thailand for decades of mission, local church to local church and in the news of her decade long illness. Wine and a daily crossword, she argued, kept it at bay. But she always knew it was her heavenly Father – each minute of each day until the end.
I used to screw up my nose because she served up brown rice – now I prefer it. She was always ahead of the trend.
The memories may eventually fade but the lessons and character traits she instilled in and genetically gifted to her children and grandchildren live on.
If I become even half the faithful, generous, loving, intelligent and cheeky woman she was, I’ll be thanking our Heavenly Father every day.
Happy Birthday Grandma, we miss you dearly.
Lois Margaret Pennington
29 January 1929 – 7 January 2010
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. // 1 Corinthians 15:58