Recently, the subject of inspiration has been an intriguing one for me; it’s fascinating to consider what inspires people, why certain things influence certain people more than others, the different roots of motivation, etc. I wanted to explore the prominent people, the trends, the outlooks, the great works of art or literature that stir up the masses. I was even intending to do a bit of digging into what inspires millennials specifically, but a major life event took place that reminded what life is all about and what really inspires me at the end of the day.
Late last week, my grandmother went into the hospital for open-heart surgery. She made it through the operation fine but suffered a stroke a few hours later, throwing me into an emotional roller coaster for the next few days. I’m currently away both from home and all of my family, so the separation from them made the regular installments of difficult news even harder to process. I began to consider so many memories, so many ways that Granny had touched my life and made it so much more beautiful. In the midst of it all, the question that kept rolling through my mind was, “what would life look like without one of the most important people and one of the greatest treasures I have on earth in my life?”
It’s extremely painful to stare that question in the face, although I have hope and faith that my grandmother will make it through and stay with us for many, many more years to come. Still, in the aftermath of the weekend (and in the midst of the ongoing struggle of preparing myself for whatever may come), I have come to realize that the incredible woman lying in the hospital has been one of the greatest sources of inspiration in my life and that it was the way she lived her life, carried herself, related to people, and loved God that most impacted those around her.
My grandmother has been a faithful woman all her life, raising five children and loving her husband, nieces and nephews, daughters and sons-in-laws, grandchildren, friends, etc. with a consistently open, generous, gracious, patient, tactful, and wise heart. The woman always, always thinks the best of people, is spot-on in her advice every time, is incredibly perceptive about people, problems, and relationships, is unfailingly pleasant and gentle, goes out of her way to serve, has the most safest, most comforting you’ll ever find, and is flat-out fun to be with (she loves a good laugh and causes quite a few of them). She is beautiful in everything she does, every single thing, and I’ve never met anyone more radiant with love.
This is just a peek into the life of a truly one-of-a-kind lady, and I could say so much more. However, beyond her circle of tight-knit family and friends, crowds don’t know my grandmother’s name, she will not be in the history books, and her name is not plastered all over billboards. It is her personality, her character, her selfless choices and her love that make the difference, and I think that it's in the lives of people like her, the friends and family who surround us, that ultimately provide the greatest sources of inspiration for us all. Sure, historical figures, celebrities, powerful people, books, movies, etc. all inspire us but take some time to look around you today and ask who is it that inspires you with their lives and their love. I guarantee you that if you look you’ll find more than you thought.
No, crowds of people don’t know my grandmother’s name, but her life changed her corner of the world for the better. Even beyond that, the impact of her choices resonate today in twenty-two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren (soon to be five!). In the next several decades, those numbers will be doubled and tripled, so Granny’s impact will last for years upon years. Those who will never meet her will be shaped by her without even knowing it and that’s what I call inspiration. So thank you, Granny, for being the woman that you are!