I am so blessed, my entire life. Parents, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles powerful and wonderful with their influences of love, grace and forgiveness. Being loved by them is to know unconditional love. My maternal Grandmother was a rare gem, her love shines on.
I’m, what some would call defective. Even though I was born without a hip socket and internal spina bifida, they didn’t throw me back. I was worth keeping to them. I required extra attention I suppose, though no one has ever told me. I never had to question my parents and grandparents love for me. I have never doubted it. No matter the mischief I caused in my life, or the bad decisions I made, they still loved me. My parents and my incredibly special Maternal Grandmother loved me like Jesus loves me.
We laughed together a lot. Sweetthing, her pet name, (the name her grandchildren called her), and she loved to laugh. She lived a happy, contented Christian life in front of me. I never heard her argue. I learned from her to love without condition, to trust without doubt, to live and love and laugh.
She taught me all about Jesus at every opportunity, as my Bible School teacher for many years then as my 1st-2nd grade Sunday school teacher. But most of all she taught me by sharing her life with me. I don’t remember a time of not knowing, trusting and loving Him. In my “baby book” my Mother penned about me: “Angela loves to hear stories about Jesus.” I still do.
Sweetthing was sweet, that is for sure. Petite and classy, eloquent and beautiful she had brown curly hair (like me) porcelain skin and blue eyes (like me). Her name suited her. From the time I was 6 years old until she went to heaven in 1989, she lived across the dead end street from my parents. I spent many nights with her, more than I stayed at home. Over and over she proved to be my best friend. As soldiers say, “she had my 6”, taking up for me and always giving me the benefit of the doubt. She knew my heart and I knew hers.
Learning to drive was an adventure with her. She always had a cool car. Instilling in me a love of cars. We sported a Ford Fairlaine and a Pontiac Century. She enjoyed a nice automobile. I took my driving test using her car because I was used to driving it. She let me drive long before I was old enough. Once she let me speed up to 80 miles an hour on an old forest “roller coaster” road. It was so awesome. The list of things she taught me would be infinite. Fashion, manners, home making, make up, book keeping, money things, and most important of all, she taught me how to pray.
This love was unconditional. I have always been a little loud, talked too much, couldn’t be still kind of little girl. Her sister, Aunt Mae, would say I was their little girl. Sweetthing would say, “No, she is my little girl”. If Mother was there she would finish it by, “NO, MY little girl”. We would laugh.
Sweetthing taught me to pray in two ways. When a problem arose, no matter the reason, or the situation, she listened to me until I finished talking. Her first response was always, “We are going to pray about this”. Then we prayed, with all our hearts.
She thanked Jesus for all the blessings, praised His Name, prayed for others, then us, individually and specific. At this point in prayer she paused, “Just to know He is God”. Any special request we had, she offered up because we knew He was listening.
The second way she taught me to pray is by example. She prayed in front of me, with me, for me about everything. When she talked to the Lord she had a sweet, humbleness in her voice, speaking to Him like she was talking to her daddy. Praying, she ended in, “In Jesus Name, Amen.” Followed by my, “Amen”. I know now that the structure of her prayer is perfectly Scriptural.
Learning new Scripture is a daily stop in my life’s journey. Always has been, always will be. I got it from Sweetthing and Mother. Through the years I love it when I find a new Scripture supporting what I was taught. It is a blessing among blessings. Sweetthing had a hand in my love for the Scriptures. I remember repeating The Twenty-Third Psalm over and over until I could quote it anywhere, anytime. I still can.
Sweething’s husband, Daddy Lowell, went to heaven very young. At the age of 42, in 1962, he had a heart attack and died suddenly. I was only 2 years old. I don’t remember much about him, just a few things. He was so handsome! She loved him very much and he loved her the same. I loved that, I loved them and they loved me. It makes me smile.
She never dated after that. She moved into the spare bedroom where there were two twin beds. I had a bed all of my own. The furniture was really dark, black plain high rise twin beds, thick mattresses. In the middle a tall matching chest of drawers with two small milk glass lamps sharing the space. Lovely matching milk glass lamps that I fortunately still have, sitting on my piano. Sweetthing’s bed was on the right, mine the left. I had to jump to get up on the bed.
So many prayers went up through that room. Probably soaked into the walls. Years and years of answered prayers and journey talks. Even as a teen I did not like spending the night away from home. By away from home, I mean home and Sweetthing’s. I had two. I can’t count the times I went to some friend’s for overnight ending up calling Mother or Sweetthing to come and get me. Neither ever became angry with me, just the opposite. They would say they were glad I called.
In her spare bedroom as night turned to sleep I would fall asleep with all things quiet except for the “air”. The rhythm of the air conditioner and the gas furnace always made me so sleepy. It still does and I am 55 years old.
Before we said good night and I was settling down she would ask me, “Do you want to pray first or do you want me to?” Most of the time I wanted her to start, she was so good at it. I learned by listening and being blessed to be there. I thank God. I always want to pray like her, like I was taught, every time I pray.
Just hours before the angel swooped down and took her to heaven, she whispered in my ear, “Angela, don’t ever forget how much I love you.” I will never forget.
“In the sweet, by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore….”
©Angela Posey-Arnold 2015
Right to Left Grandmother Posey, Me, Sweetthing, Aunt Mae at my wedding in 1988.