Kelly's grandmother is named Pauline Williams. She goes by several names, however, including Mom, Mrs. Pauline, and Aunt Polly; but she was introduced to me at the age of 91 as simply “Grandmommy.” Kelly and I had been “seriously dating” for some time, and I was invited to Hiram, Georgia, to spend the weekend and get to know the family. The first time I ever met Grandmommy, she hugged my neck and said, “Don't they have any pretty girls where you're from?” It was like I'd known her all my life, and so began a wonderful relationship.
Grandmommy and I get along for several reasons, but I think the primary reason is because I like to talk and Grandmommy loves a good story. She has been a tremendous encouragement to me during the writing of this book. She is a saintly woman of God who loves Jepordy, great-grandchildren, and chocolate.
One day, the family was sitting around chatting and the subject of re-incarnation came up. Grandmommy said, “You know I don't believe in that stuff, but if I did I think I'd probably come back as a wolf.” Well you can imagine the chuckles that insued. “Why do you think you'd come back as a wolf?” someone asked. “Well, I guess, it's 'cause I'm so mean” Grandmommy replied.
She then went on to recount for us a story from her childhood. She said that when she was a little girl in school, one of her classmates was from “the wrong side of the tracks.” Grandmommy said they would throw rocks at the girl and tease her about her father making moonshine. “I don't know if that was true about her Daddy, but that was the story anyway.” You could tell in Grandmommy's voice that there was a twinge of guilt about how she had treated another human being even after eighty plus years.
Trying to lighten the mood a bit, Cousin Jo-Jo said, “Pauline, you know how Justin tells stories, he'll probably be telling that about you.” Grandmommy simply smiled and said, “Well, maybe so, but I'm gonna die and go to Heaven before he does, and I'll tell God it ain't true!”
So much to learn, from that story in particular, and from Grandmommy in general. I'm sure that the teasing carried about by Grandmommy and her posse was part of harmless child's play, but again, you could tell it bothered her just a bit. Why? Because Grandmommy knows what I'm trying to learn and put into practice; everyone is made in the image of God and because of that they all have dignity. Picture the lowest, low-life, scum sucking, varmit of a human being you can think of, and they are still closer to God than anything else on the planet because they are made in His image. I dare say that the biggest regret most of us will have when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ is the way we have treated His children.
Grandmommy is ninety-six at this writing. She has already begun dropping hints that she might not be around much longer. She doesn't say it with any hint of sadness, though. But that's what happens when you have an intimacy with the One you know you'll spend eternity with. Jesus says in John 14:2-3, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”