When I Shall Return to Dust from My Life

My grandmother passed away on December 4, 2012, just a few short months ago. I can still envision her frail, thin, skeleton-like frame lying motionless in her hospice bed, her wide eyes and the tears in them as she recognizes me. I can hear the sound of my voice, leaning in close to her ear, whispering that I love her, singing “I Just Called to Say ‘I Love You'” and “Amazing Grace,” and reassuring her that Jesus sees her and knows she’s ready to go be with Him. Her departure marked a poignant return to dust from my life.

In her room were the last of her things: 

Her glasses, photos of family and friends, a cardigan or two, and a cross above her head. I can contain all the earthy wealth that I, her eldest grandchild, was left in a shoebox.  Was I left a massive sum of money?  Rooms full of antiques? A car? A house? No. None of these.

It’s because she held onto her possessions with an open fist. If you needed it, she gave it to you. If she saw someone else in need, she showed what they needed to them. She was a child of the Depression, and I believe she gave more money to people than she ever kept. She lived in apartments most of her life, and the last apartment she lived in before entering the nursing home contained a twin bed, recliner, bookcase, two end tables, and a few lamps.

Yet she was the wealthiest person I know. Her wealth was incalculable. She lived charitably, though poor, and died bankrupt, a queen. She was the epitome of storing up treasures in heaven. You see, she knew that the things on this earth were not hers. She’d learned that things could be ripped away in an instant. I rarely heard her say the word “mine.”

Heirlooms break. Paint fades. Floors wear out. Trends go out of style—fabrics fray. Time erodes. Appliances quit. Dust and dirt corrode. Warranties expire. She knew this. I know this. However, with every click of my favorite blogs, I become painfully aware that when I see possessions on display, I grow discontent with my things. And, like a voyeur, with one click of the “Pin It” button on Pinterest, I am enticed to hoard others’ ideas and gatherings of belongings electronically. I am constantly reminded that everything I possess will eventually return to dust from my life.

With each swish of a turned page of a paper or online magazine, I am tempted to worship the latest paint colors, the newest flooring, and the freshest furnishings. I get excited when a SALE sign prompts me to buy from want rather than need because I am immediately aware of my lack. I remember my grandmother, and no matter how badly I wished to travel with her when she left her earthy shell, she had to go alone, without me, without her possessions. 

What she did leave was a heritage of trusting God to provide for her day by day. She pinched her pennies only to shower them on others. She was others-focused and heaven-minded. She had a lovely, simple life. Her riches were her family and friends and Jesus’ grace. She wasn’t scared to die. She knew where she was headed. Life tempts me to get, grab, and covet more, and earthly trinkets tempt me to hoard, display, store, or showcase them.

I tend to let my possessions define me and distract me from my relationships with others. But what happens when I, frail, thin, almost naked, and skeleton-like, return to dust for my life? What will I leave behind? And what then can be said of those things that, at present, I think belong to me? They will remain as dust, fleeting remnants of a life consumed by material pursuits.

Lisa, who designed this grid for the headboard wall and had help from Angie and Gina, my hostess, to complete it, talks more about it HERE. This curtain is uh-may-zing. Made by my new friend, ChaCha. She shares her tutorial on how to sew your own in This post. She couldn’t decide if she wanted to wear it or hang it. The sides of the desk got sawed off so the built-in shelves could be added, and the edges would be flush with the sides of the shelving units.

Closeups of a pennant pillow and trivets made by Gina and sold in her Etsy shop. What is so extraordinary about these built-ins is that they were made to house (pun intended) Hannah’s dollhouse. The base under it was put on casters and rolled out so it could be turned around and played with!! It looks like part of the shelving when it is pushed back in. What’s precious, the whole reason I wanted to go, and the reason I wrote This post, is the look on Hannah’s face when she saw her room after it was done! So cute. And sweet.

I pray I was a blessing to you, Doodlebug, and that you love sleeping, playing, and dreaming here for a long time! (I enjoyed Hannah. She was my baking buddy. On Thursday night, we made lemon scones together. She is one mean baker!)

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