I never asked my grandmother, and, as I lie awake this cool autumn morning, halfway around the world from where she grew up I feel a pang of sadness. Did she wear blue or pink ribbons in her long hair? Did she sit in the summer sunshine, eating dainty sandwiches and home-made cakes, watching her father or her brothers play cricket on the village green? Did she have a favourite doll – or even have the time to play? I do know my grandfather proposed to her on his return from the Front, but how did she meet him? How did she spend those dreadful years of WW1?
She was just born a Victorian, a mere three weeks before the old Queen died. She had a sister and two brothers. But did she have cousins? And if so, did they spend time together? Where did she go to school?
I regret never having thought to ask her. And now, of course, 120 years after the date of her birth, it is too late. I will never know these things about her.
And my thoughts fly ahead to the year 2072. Will some other woman lie in the dark one early morning and wonder how her grandmother or great grandmother spent her childhood? Whether the quaint pictures and stories of a childhood in the 1950’s and ‘60’s were how that little girl grew up? Again I think, how sad if they wish they had asked.
So I come to a decision. I have a story to tell, and I will tell it. Perhaps it will be kept in some suitcase in a storeroom somewhere, to be found in fifty years’ time by a young woman yet to be born who will be interested. Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone. Will she have my slim ankles and my thick, straight hair? Will she watch the birds? Will she have my love for writing and drawing? My faith in Christ?
As I think of her this morning, as the sky brightens just before sunrise, I say a prayer for her and her siblings, her cousins, her parents and for subsequent generations. May they grow up knowing Jesus Christ as their Saviour. And may the stories I leave for them enrich them and ground them in the family from which they come. May they be blessed somehow by these tales of a skinny little girl in pretty dresses with short white socks and shiny brown sandals, with hair cut like a boy, and a love for life and family. For I am their grandmother, great-grandmother or beyond. And may the gift I give them as they read be the knowledge that they belong, they are loved and they are prayed for.
Yes, I have a story to tell.
What about you?