On March 25th, 2016 the post “Scottish Granny” was published on this site. This was one of my favorite posts to author as it brought back so many fond memories and the relationship part of an epic God-authored story of friendship, love, loss, adventure and joy.
Since that post was published, the health of our dear friend Isabel Burns (Scottish Granny) had been on the decline. Unfortunately we had been unable to get any details about her condition, nor did we have any successful communication with each other. We learned that she was in a care facility, but for some reason she hadn’t been communicating with us, and we have been unable to reach her by phone.
A few months ago we decided we needed to make the trip to Edinburgh, Scotland to check in on Isabel in person. We found a time when the kids had a couple days off of school then booked flights and a hotel.
As the trip drew nearer, our longing for a reunion became stronger but we also began to worry as to whether or not we would be able to see her. Perhaps her health was in such a state that it would be “family only”. We couldn’t help but be concerned. What if she wasn’t even staying where we thought she was staying? How would we track her down?
Finally, it was time to embark on our journey. Upon arrival we dropped our luggage off at our hotel and immediately hopped on a bus to where we believed Isabel was staying. There was great anticipation, excitement and joy building up in our hearts. We would once again be reunited with this person who felt like family but yet we hadn’t heard from in over a year.
We prayed. If it is in your will God for us to see her, please clear any roadblocks, we know you can. You are in control. You are in every situation. If we cannot see her, please give us peace and understanding. This is yours Lord, please lead us.
We proceeded into the care facility and arrived at the front desk. We asked if we may see Isabel Burns and their response was positive, loving and kind. Of course we could! We were so relieved!!!
Upon arrival in Isabel’s room we had gladness to see her however it was immediately clear that that she was not well. It became clear as to why we hadn’t heard from her. While we do not know the reasons why, she wasn’t able to speak and it seemed her vision was minimal at best.
We made the most of our time (through multiple visits), telling stories of the old days, telling her we love her, and prayed for her. She seemed to indicate some responsiveness when we said things like “Amy from America”. We reminisced with a funny story about her bath towel at our house being used to clean up some paint (which wasn’t funny when it happened) and showed some emotion which made us all smile.
Amy fed Isabel her lunch as well as her afternoon tea and with each visit, as Isabel drifted off to sleep we felt it was time to leave.
In Luke 15 (today’s reading) there are three “lost and found” parables. The lost sheep, lost coin, and the prodigal son. Jesus used these parables to teach us how our Father God seeks relationship with us and longs for us to repent and turn back to him when we’ve sinned or gone astray.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man[h] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)
“It is the soul of man that especially bears God’s image.” (Matthew Henry’s commentary on Genesis 1:27)
Reflecting on Scottish Granny and how we longed to see her again, how we left with some joy in having visited, but with loss in knowing that even while physically close, she seemed very far away. I believe this longing is something that we are pre-programmed with as we were made in the image of God. He seeks us and we were made to seek Him, to seek relationship for the sake of eternity.
What stories in your life reflect Jesus’ call for a relationship with him and The Father, and how will you answer?