Ron and I are empty nesters.
For the past year our quietly structured, comfortably boring home has been filled with the activity of a sometimes scatter-brained, most-of-the time lovable, always off-the-chart-extrovert, teenager!
Krishma was part of an internship program at our church, and we learned she needed a place to live for the school year. Ron and I talked about the need and decided, “Why not?” After being empty nesters for nearly a decade, we felt up to the adventure. We have an extra bedroom and felt like opening our home for a season was a gift we could give to the young woman we knew only casually.
The adventure began when Krish moved her belongings in the end of September, 2014. On September 28, 2015, our alarms roused us from sleep at the ridiculously early hour of 3:00 a.m. so we could drive her to the airport to board a 5:30 a.m. flight. Destination: Kona, Hawaii, where she will participate in a discipleship training program at the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) headquarters for three months, followed by another three months on an overseas missions trip.
As seems to be the case when any teenager exits your home, many of her belongings were left behind! They’ll be stored safely until she returns to Coeur d’Alene in March, 2016, shortly after her 20th birthday.
During the past year, Krishma not only settled into our home, but she settled into our family, and has become a Granddaughter of the Heart. Her high school graduation picture sits between those of our two granddaughters on my office bookshelf. God is writing a beautiful story with Krishma’s life, and Ron and I feel blessed to be characters in one of the chapters of that story.
Sydney, Krishma and Mackenzie
Our granddaughter of the heart was born to East Indian immigrant parents. Krishma’s beautiful dark-colored skin tone, mass of black curly hair and traditional Indian nose piercing all hint of her ethnic origin. Otherwise, she’s a thoroughly American teenager who loves clothes, watching movies, eating fast food and hanging out with friends. Her speech has no hint of her family’s Hindi dialect—except when you listen to her order from the menu at an Indian restaurant.
Krishma adores her family and speaks passionately about preserving her Indian heritage. But, she’s also resolved to follow the path of Christ she discovered while a student at the high school located directly across the road from our home church. This faith decision created a rift in her Hindu family of origin. Yet, even though we haven’t met her parents, we’ve been impressed by the obvious deep devotion to their daughter. Ron and I realize how difficult it would have been if one of our daughters had announced to us she’d decided to follow a faith other than that we hold so dearly. During one honest discussion, we questioned whether we could have been as gracious and unconditionally loving as her parents have been.
During the past year we’ve enjoyed sharing some “family firsts” with Krishma. For the first time in her life, she
- helped decorate a family Christmas tree,
- set the table “properly,” placing silverware, napkins and glasses in the “correct” position for a holiday family meal,
- participated in a family Easter egg hunt,
- attended a family reunion.
- observed mildly affectionate interactions between two ‘old’ folks.
Ron and I also experienced some “firsts,” such as:
- reading on Facebook about our back and forth conversation concerning some inane topic Krish had found amusing;
- making the threat/promise that if she ever took a morning picture of me and put it on Facebook, she would lose her ‘happy home!’
- coming home after a very long day to find every seat in our family room occupied by a young person watching Lord of the Rings with the volume set at full throttle.
One of my most significant learning experiences this past year came following a ‘crucial conversation’ I needed to have with Krish. At the end of our talk, I counseled, “Krishma, God has given you a dream, and God has given you a story, but God is more concerned about your character than about your dream or your story.”
About the same time as that talk, I had launched Listening on the Journey, and was coming to the realization that publishing two blog posts weekly is a big task. One day when I was thinking about procrastinating on my writing, the words I’d spoken to my granddaughter of the heart echoed.
God has given you a dream, and God has given you a story, but God is more concerned about your character than about your dream or your story!
Convinced and convicted by my own recently-spoken words, I buckled down and started writing. Indeed, diligence is a character issue!
Yes, this past year has been a memorable one. Ron and I believe the intersection of our journeys with Krishma’s was designed Divinely. Forever our stories will be linked with cords of love and faith. Through all our days we will cherish our granddaughter of the heart, realizing our relationships will be part of a larger legacy.
So, until next March, we say, “Aloha, Krish,” and Mahelo for the Memories!
Blessings on your journey….
Your grandma of the heart, Sue…
Krishma, with boarding pass in hand, ready to begin an exciting new phase of her life journey.
Krish and Ron, her grandpa of the heart. (Granny doesn’t do early-morning photos!)