Vision, Art, & Faith meet MaryJane
Updated: Sep 27, 2019
About a week ago I received a two-page hand written letter from my 95, soon to be 96 year old, grandmother. Yeah friends, I'm #blessed to have an amazingly wise and loving grandma who writes me letters and slides me a 20 every now and then through Venmo, lol. Living abroad, I don't get much mail aside from bills and community fliers but ever since I moved she has always sent me something either directly or through my mom. The letters or cards she sends are usually simple or straight to the point like a birthday card or thinking of you, but this last letter was a whole two-page recount of her well-being and family life back in Michigan, future and recent past.
I appreciate reading the words while hearing her voice in my head, and squinting my eyes to make out some of the words written in a very, let's say, unique style of cursive handwriting lol. As an expat, it can be really easy to get caught up in your life abroad, but by the end of the letter I remembered just how much I miss her and the great time we had while I visited home this past June. I think I'd learned more about my grandma this past June than in my entire life. Or maybe, I'm just in a better place to notice and receive her wisdom than ever before.
MaryJane: The Faithful and Patient One
If I could write the biography of my grandma MaryJane's life I would call it: "Faithfully and Patiently". In everything she does, she always takes her time and sticks to it. She keeps the vision at heart and focuses on the little steps to get there while staying cool, calm and collected. She doesn't fuss over anything that can't be changed and goes about her day to day life with ease. I believe that it's through her habits, mindset and strong sense of purpose that she has had such a long and fulfilling life.
While I was home this past June, I visited just in time for my Uncle's wedding. It was definitely a joyous occasion that was slightly interrupted when my grandma fell and broke her wrist (she's all good now). Fortunately, a lot of our family was there to help, including myself, and I was able to spend some much needed quality time with her. She usually doesn't need much day-to-day help but once her arm was out of commission she needed help with everything from sorting her medication to even just putting on a sweater.
So I became her handy assistant for a couple days. I saw her in action and soaked in every detail about how she gets through her days and takes care of herself. At the emergency room she could answer every question including her birthdate, address and a recall of what happened without skipping a beat, in addition to handing them a very well-organized set of cards listing all medications and current doctors ( I couldn't tell you any info about my doctors, lol). In her hotel room, I looked through and handed her all the supplies she needed from her well-organized and color coded compartments complete with a variety of medication, tools and liquids. I helped her clean and re-dress an ankle wound that she got 4 years ago, with a layer of medicated cream and a fresh bandage. Turns out it's only recently started to close-up due to lower blood circulation at her feet. But despite this, everyday she cleans it, adds cream and puts on a new bandage, faithfully and patiently. The woman is sharp, organized and know's her -ish. I'm not gonna lie, I was already impressed with her but this was more than I imagined.
Even recently I learned via FaceTime that she does a 20-minute solo version of senior citizen olympics in her room every morning where she tosses a ball back and forth between her feet to maintain the dexterity of her legs. My mom was raving about her momma's skills as I sat envious wishing I could have seen it for myself. "Grandma you should start your own league of Senior Citizen Olympics," I joked, half kidding but low-key kinda serious. And per usual all she does is laugh and say "you're terrible", her typical way of shrugging off my random comments. However the truth is, she's developed a lifestyle that we all, even me, should take note of and incorporate into our lives.
Sometimes you do things not because you want to but because it's good for you.
My grandma responded once before when I asked her if she liked the veggies and beans she was eating for dinner one day. The meal didn't look particularly appetizing but I saw her taking her time with every forkful until the plate was empty. I didn't completely understand it as a teenager but as I become older, well as I like to say "seasoned like a good steak and aged like fine wine", I began to understand what she meant by that. It's the daily habits we do throughout our lives that makes a difference in the quality and longevity of our lives. These habits build who we are and how we live, and even affect how we treat those around us. It's not about the immediate effect of the habit but the longterm 95 year old effect that it can have on us.
The things my grandmother has accomplished out of her 95 years of life are remarkable and its through her strong faith in not only God, and others but herself that has kept her pushing through. From having 13 children over a span of 20 years, living through the Detroit Race Riots among countless wars and merely stepping into her greatness as a strong Black woman through much of the 20th century, my Grandma has had her fair share of adversity, challenges and trials. And through it all, she stays hella active in her church (Was that blasphemous if I'm tryna make a point?), sends everyone and their mother a card for really any holiday known to man (except Christopher Columbus, ew) and she lives her days full of self-care, love, gratitude, and communion, with her family, friends and anyone she meets.
I hope that as I become wiser I not only maintain the flawless skin that runs through our genes but I keep the patience and faith that my grandma has in everything that I do. She seems to have mastered it all and doesn't let any speed bump dim her shine and or get in the way of how she treats herself and others. Maybe it was MaryJane all along who subconsciously influenced me to make Vision Art Faith. Or, it was my journey that recognized the need for such patience and faith and encouraged me to look to the strong people around me as inspiration to continue pushing toward my dreams.
Thanks for reading,
And remember to always have faith, keep a vision and make art in everything that you do.