I originally wrote this in 1994 about my beloved grandmother Vallie Whittington. Spring was her time of the year and lately she has been on my mind.
My maternal grandmother was a majestic lady. She had a tremendous loving heart and a sweet gentle spirit that was contagious. In so many ways she was the glue that held our family together. Even though she has been gone for several years our “Ma Whitt” is never far from our hearts.
Oh, how she always admired Elvis! Her admiration of him was unshakable even with the tragic and unseemly circumstances of his death. Once I had the opportunity to take her to his birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi. She was thrilled! It just whetted her appetite though for what she really wanted – Graceland! So naturally off we went to Memphis. There she was treated like royalty. Grinning, she would arrive in the rooms in a wheel chair before anyone else. Her dream had come true. She saw Graceland.
But there is more to her story. One Wednesday night in the summer of 1977 at the age of 77 she put Christ on in baptism. Totally unaware of her decision, I sat stunned in the audience and witnessed her rebirth. Earlier that summer I had also become a Christian and in my zeal attempted to convert the world including Ma Whitt with whom I lived at the time. Dogmatic, harsh and unkind, I pushed and bullied, but somehow the Word got through anyway. That summer night with tears in my eyes I marveled at the power of the cross. In spite of me the love of Christ compelled her!
I saw a grace land too. I witnessed the grace of God turning all my blunders into a beautiful, life altering event. It brought new meaning to Paul’s oft quoted, marvelous words:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Now I am confident that my Ma Whitt is enjoying another land of grace that makes even Elvis’s place look puny.
So never despair for long. If he could turn my mistakes into a beautiful ending, He can for anyone. There is grace in the land of God and to spare. She saw Graceland and so can you.