“Granny Is Still Teaching Us”

We are fast approaching Christmas. It’s a time of preparation…get the tree, buy the presents, decorate the home…and hopefully prepare our hearts. For many years we tried to get our shopping done prior to Advent so we could minimize the distractions during Advent…. it’s worked to some degree. 

As I get older I sometimes think about the Christmas times years ago when I lived with my mother, back in the late ‘50’s and early ‘60’s … the years after my father passed away. We had moved from our home in Dexter, Mo. to a 3rd floor apartment in St. Louis. They were difficult years, even though I generally tended to “roll with the punches”. My mother tried hard to make it festive in our little 3rd floor apartment… getting the tree, buying a few presents… putting up the decorations. In later years when my future wife Judy would join us, she was taken back by how few presents we had under the tree… I didn’t really notice …I was proud of our tree and our presents.

Unfortunately a demon of discouragement, depression, and alcoholism would usually join us for the Christmas season. My mother, now a widow at 44 years old,  would try hard to make a nice home, yet her disappointment and loneliness would tend to  often “drive her to drink”. She would see her wealthy siblings living the great life and herself left in the dust with 4 kids, money worries and few friends. It was always a disappointment when I would discover again that she had been drinking. Despite many “tragic events” over these years, we all loved my mother. Somehow we knew that she was trying hard; somehow we knew her disappointments, at times, were just too much for her. 

Even in those difficult days the Lord had his eye on my mother and our family. She never lost her faith in the Lord. Several years later she recommitted her life to the Lord and experienced a new power through the Holy Spirit. She was freed of this terrible demon of alcoholism and severe depression and lived “happy” the last 20+ years of her life. She died in the arms of the Lord with us around her bed. (Judy, me, our 10 kids, and friends….) 

There’s a lot of points to this BLOG. They include… “no one gets a free ride in this life, we all have our problems… Christmas can often be a time of spiritual warfare, with discouragement and depression lurking…. old difficult memories can show up and plague us even during this wonderful season…. so in light of all that, BE ON GUARD! 

Be on guard! Don’t be surprised when old memories or old demons or memories of old sin show up and try to bring you down. St. Peter, who knew a thing or two about old lousy memories, reminds us: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1Peter 4:12-13)

So we have many intercessors praying for us to be strong. They know it’s hard and they have experienced many tragedies in their past. We have the saints, we have our family and friends, and we have Mary Elizabeth Touhill (aka “Granny”) who didn’t ever quit despite a lot of trials in her life, and died in the arms of her savior. I believe she’s now enjoying the blessings of heaven and praying for all of us. And that is very good news. 

Note: the picture above is Granny’s 80th birthday, surrounded by grandchildren… no longer lonely.

4 thoughts on ““Granny Is Still Teaching Us”

  1. What a gift to have Granny live with us in her last years🙌🏻🎁
    She loved our life in the Lord and participated in everything she could. The Lord prepared the way for her to be cared for, giving us a big house and lots of children to entertain her. Thank God Fr Tom, Hospice and many friends who helped us🙌🏻

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  2. Dad! This picture is priceless & Granny taught us so many lessons. I would love to see her enjoy all the little ones these days. Thank you for making such great memories for us when we were little. I always remember Granny letting me put her earrings in & light the candles with matches (!!). I loved visiting her in the basement. ❤️❤️

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