Sunday, September 2, 2007

Ave Maria

As I type this, Stuart is trudging across the back yard to the shop in the pouring rain after a block of wood that I need for a project. He comes back in, dripping, and hands the wood to me with a smile.

A few days ago, in the restless moments between sleep and wake, I heard singing. "Ave Maria, gracia plena…” My grandfather was singing in a rich bass voice that moved gracefully between low and high notes. "Maria, gracia plena…” I heard traces of his Hungarian accent come through the words. "Maria, gracia plena..." The notes faded. I woke up completely and sat for a moment, missing my grandpa.

My grandfather sang these words,without accompaniment, at my wedding, nine days after his wife died. He soldiered through, his words floating clearly over the stillness in the church. To me, his singing remains the best memory of that day. It was fitting that he participated.

I think about my choice for a marriage partner from time to time. How did I know? How did I know to marry Stuart? I guess I had been looking for him since I was eight or nine. And how did I know what to look for? My grandfather taught me.

I spent a week each year with my grandparents. In those short weeks, I saw Grandpa fill Grandma’s gas tank. I saw him set out her medicines and wash the dishes. He watched out the window and waited for Grandma to return from the grocery store. When she did, he went out the door and carried in the groceries and parked the car in the garage. My young mind recognized that he loved with his actions and over time I realized that the man I would marry would have to love me like that. My grandpa mentored without a single word. I doubt he realized how these little things would impact his young grandaughter and his great grandchildren.



Visit Fruit in Season for more discussion on the impact mentors can have on a marriage.

9 comments:

lori said...

Kate,
I read your post after I had written mine...how poingnant...seems that we had mentors of the same mold....I know that my grandparents did not know the mentors that they were for me....but they have influenced how I wanted a marriage to be and how I wanted that covenant to honor God more than they ever knew...I only pray that from heaven they can see it all unfolding...their legacy within Scott and I....

Janelle said...

How I would have loved to hear his voice singing at your wedding. I bet there wasn't a dry eye in the house. What an amazing man!

Jennifer said...

That is a beautiful post. I wish I had had that kind of relationship with my grandparents. I did watch my grandfather unconditionally love my grandmother and serve her well for years and years, quietly. I have never stopped to consider the significance of that upon my life until tonight. Thank you for reminding me.

Kindness is so important. To see it lived out has more of an impact upon us than we realize. Now I find myself counseling young ladies considering marriage,..."do you see kindness in him?" It goes SUCH a long way. John absorbs so much of my unkindness, some days, the kind that comes with stress and weariness. I hope his kindness will one day be a good memory, like yours, upon his children and grandchildren's minds.
Thanks for sharing,
Jen

ValleyGirl said...

You're so fortunate to have had such a close relationship with your grandparents. What a beautiful and moving tribute. An attitude of loving servanthood will make us the best spouse we can be -- and the best example of Christ to others.

Lynn said...

What an absolutely beautiful tribute to your Grandfather. I pray your guy is just like him.

Thank you for sharing this story.

Jthemilker said...

This was a very touching post. It really took me back... It is lovely. Thanks for sharing.

Christine said...

Beautiful, Kate. Memory and Mentor- it fits both weeks. ;)

I love the story of your grandfather's actions speaking love to your grandmother. We often overlook actions in favor of words...

Susan said...

I smiled as I read this Kate and then it hit me. You were (Praise God) describing my dad AND my own husband. I was immediately stricken with the realization that I am really, really blessed.

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

That's so beautiful Kate. Sounds like a scene from a great love story!

steph.