Harvard student Megan remembering her grandma.
It is impossible to summarize the impact that nainai had on my life – what I say is 1/1000th of how important she is to us.
So as a child, my parents were very busy and I was very, very shy. I refused to go to school because I was scared – I only spoke Chinese and no one at school could understand me. So my grandma came to school with me every single day and sat at the back of the classroom. She spent hours just waiting for me. Every time I got scared I would just look back at her and realize I was safe.
Then we would go home and we would spend the entire day together. She was my best friend when no one else in the world had the time to spend with me or the capability to understand me. Everyday we napped together in her bed under the sunlight. Then she made my favourite foods and we would just spend the day in each other’s company. “Perfect love drives out fear”, 1st John tells us.
This is just one example of how she dedicated her life to loving our family. I still remember when she taught me how to play games, drink from a bottle, make dumplings, and even use the toilet (she bribed me with candy!) Through the way she treated me, I learned that love was the most important thing to give to someone else because her love changed my life. Indeed in the Bible it says “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
Love truly never fails: I experienced this first hand because her love shaped my identity completely. At night when I was scared of thunderstorms and didn’t have the words to say, her embrace was enough. When I stayed for days in my room to study for exams, she brought me so much food to my room (without a single word) until all of the household dishes were in my room! When she would make bao, she would make me a special triangle shaped one full of brown sugar and she would secretly slip it to me when no one was looking. When she went grocery shopping she always used her extra money to buy me you tiao which made my day! One time I even tried to teach her English but it was way too hard and we just gave up and couldn’t stop laughing. She loved us like it was just what she was made on earth to do.
When someone loves you SO much with no rhyme or reason, without ever expecting anything in return, and does this for years and years… you start to realize that maybe you are worthy as an object of love. To be deeply known by someone (including all your faults and insecurities and impatience), and to still be loved – that is nothing short of a miracle. Once you realize you are worthy of such love, honestly, anything becomes possible in your life.
When I go forth into the real world and all the forces of the world tell me to forget the important things, or forget how to love, I know that my grandma has created a character in me that is strong enough to face the world. If I ever forget how important it is to take care of each individual human soul, I will remember my grandma and the enormous impact she had on my life. In the last twenty years, her mission field was not the workplace or school, Bruce and I’s souls, fundamentally changing the way we see the world and treat others. She is an embodiment of God’s love: patient, kind, not self-seeking, not easily angered, not keeping record of wrongs, always protecting, trusting, hoping, and persevering.
While I miss her everyday, I know that she will always be with me, because she gave us each the gift of a heart, a heart that we use everyday so we can learn to love like how she loved us.