Monday, 17 May 2010

wisdom in wrinkles

Billy and Betty are two of the most wonderful people I know. You met them a few posts ago. Remember? … that couple from Belfast, the ones that put the grand in grandparents. Well, they were here visiting my family for a few weeks. Those 'few weeks' were too short though, as usual, but definitely sweet, as usual... especially because they were here to celebrate my college graduation. It made the occasion all the more special, for sure.

Anyways, they are worth getting to know.

Ladies first…. I’m convinced that the chorus of When Irish Eyes Are Smiling was written about my grandmother. And I’m pretty sure that the tea industry has stayed in business all these years because of her too. She is the type of person whose presence lights up an entire room, and whose sense of humour gets along with everybody. You’re guaranteed a good laugh when Betty is around; there’s no doubt about that. The Bible says that a cheerful heart is good medicine. Well, let me tell you… if you could put Betty De Courcy in a bottle, a lot of sad people would be cured instantly.

Another thing I love about her is her collection of scarves. I imagine she has a whole wardrobe full of them, silky ones in a wide array of fantastic colours. And be sure, each one was a good bargain, for the lady knows how to shop a sale. She also knows how to tell a story, and has plenty of them, up both sleeves.

Betty lives life to the full, even in her seventies. Just the other day, we caught the train into Los Angeles for an afternoon at Olvera Street. Music was in the air as we walked from shop to shop. I decided to run over to the ‘churro stand’ to treat my grandparents to their first Mexican treat. The next thing I know, I look over to find a Mexican man in his sombrero, strumming his guitar, and my grannie clicking her heels and swaying her arms to his song. There she was, dancing and twirling in the middle of the street, for all the world to see. People passed by, smiled, clapped, and cheered on the dynamic duo. That is precisely why I love her dear-old-silly- self, for she is not embarrassed easily, and knows how to laugh at herself. The sooner one learns those traits, the better.

Her light-hearted approach to life is coupled with a serious side though, which has been wrought by life experience. I know, from her stories, that the Lord has a bottle of her tears collected. However, He deemed these tears necessary for her growth. And so they were. It was through those heartaches and hurdles that Betty became the woman that she is today, a woman who has learned to trust her great God. She wrote me this in my graduation card – “Like Abraham, you are going into unchartered waters, but fear not for God has been already there.” Wisdom like that, from a woman who has gone through her fair share of unchartered waters, is invaluable. I am the grateful recipient of such wisdom.

Now, meet my grandfather… Never in my life have I known somebody to enjoy music so much. I tell you, the man thrives on a good song or composition. He eats, sleeps, and breathes music. He’s near turning eighty years of age, and I believe that music has played a role in keeping him so well for so long. His taste is broad and interesting, and he is more than eager to share his findings with any pair of ears willing to listen.

Billy is well-traveled and reads extensively. His favourite country is Germany; his favourite book, Pilgrim’s Progress; his favourite writer, good ole C.H. Spurgeon. No wonder he is so insightful. He would eat Chinese food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if he could, and appreciates good chocolate, especially European chocolate. He has lived most of his life on the rough side of town, which the Lord has used to chisel and mold him into the strong man of conviction that he is. He has a work ethic that is hard to match, and a laugh that cannot be rivaled. It bellows deep from within, and has come to be one of my favourite laughs in the world. It is unusual and contagious. Best of all, he has been a dependable servant of the Lord since his twenties, when the Lord saved and transformed his life. He faithfully attends and serves at the tiny neighbourhood church, weekly.

To encapsulate Billy in one word, I would say, loyal. He is a loyal follower of God. He has been loyal to God’s church. He has been loyal to his wife and children. He has been loyal to his employers, and loyal to his friends. That quality is rare these days; loyal people are hard to come by. So, I am grateful for my grandfather. I appreciate that he is a man of few words, because he is busy walking the walk. I admire that he doesn’t have to be the center of attention. In fact, he would much rather sit back, listen, and learn. And I love that he makes God look great in the quiet way that he trusts Him, day in and day out.

God has put these two in my life to help me, and help me, they have. I think of the hymn written by Keith and Kristyn Getty, which speaks of “saints of old still line the way, retelling triumphs of His grace.” Billy and Betty are two such saints of old. They have heeded God and told the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, His power, and the wonders He has done.
(Psalm 78:4)

I'm glad that God's people are multi-generational. I have so much still to learn.

1 comment:

  1. this was encouraging...wish I could spend a day with them!