"So you're taking my grandchildren away from me!" Lanie said bitterly.
"I'm sorry, Mom," Denny responded. "I don't have a choice. The army is transferring me to Fort Benning, Georgia."
"Why don't you try to get out of the military?"
"Mom, I'm committed for at least two more years. I can't just leave," he explained. "Besides, in four years I'll be eligible to retire with 20 years of service."
Lanie saved her tears until after Denny left. Then she called her friend Carla and told her about her son's terrible decision to abandon her and move a thousand miles away.
"But, Lanie," Carla responded, "you're lucky that Denny and his family have been stationed so close to you for the past four years. You should count your blessings."
"Some friend you are!" Lanie replied. "Why are you taking his side?"
"You should visit them in Georgia. Have you considered moving there?"
"My son suggested that, but then I'd have to leave my friends and adjust to a strange city and a different climate. At this time of my life, I don't like change. Why can't things stay the same?"
"We don't always get what we want, Lanie. Sometimes we just have to do the best we can with the Lord's help."
A little later that day, Denny's wife, Kasey, stopped by to deliver a new framed picture of the family.
"After we get settled, you can come and visit us, Lanie. You might even like Georgia's friendly people and moderate climate," she suggested.
Lanie mumbled an unsmiling thank you for the picture. After Kasey left, she sat down in her recliner and watched the evening news. However, nothing seemed to take her mind off the fact that in two weeks Denny, Kasey, Samantha, and Sean would be living far away.
Kasey told Denny about her stop at Lanie's house earlier in the day.
"She didn't even smile when I gave her the family portrait. I don't know what more we can do, Denny."
"My mother will have to decide how she wants to respond to our moving," he replied. "I've invited her to visit us, and if she likes the area, we'll even help her find an apartment to rent. The rest is up to her."
A few days later, 16-year-old Samantha rang her grandmother's doorbell.
"Hi, Sam, it's good to see you," Lanie said as she kissed her on the cheek. "Come in."
"Grandma!" Sam burst into tears. "My boyfriend, Brett, is being sent overseas. I won't see him for a whole year."
"I'm sorry, Sam. Come, let's sit down in the kitchen, and you can tell me all about it."
She handed Sam a box of tissues and offered her iced tea and oatmeal cookies.
"Thanks, Grandma. How did you cope when Grandpa was stationed in Europe?"
"It wasn't easy, but I kept busy and I reminded myself that he'd be coming home to me. One of my friends had lost her husband in the Vietnam War. So, I realized that I was very blessed. I wrote to your grandfather every single day, and I sent him lots of packages filled with homemade treats and things that he couldn't buy over there."
"Grandma, I hate to be separated from Brett and from you, too, at the same time. Couldn't you come with us to Georgia? Please! I don't know how to adjust to so many changes. I'll be attending a new high school, having to make new friends, going to a new church, and trying to help my parents get settled in a strange place."
"Well, I don't know . . ."
"You've had lots of experience dealing with changes," Sam commented. "Would you at least consider moving with us?"
After Sam left, Lanie pondered the situation from her granddaughter's perspective.
I guess I could be of some help to Sam and Sean, and to Denny and Kasey, too. They'll all be facing stressful circumstances. Maybe I could use my past experiences to ease the strain for them all.
"Hi, Mom, how are you doing?" Denny asked when he called a few days later. "You know that Kasey and I would like you to move with us to Georgia. Have you given it any thought?"
"Yes, I have," Lanie replied. "I've decided to rent my house and put my furniture in storage. When we arrive in Georgia, I'll look for a furnished apartment."
"You won't need to do that, Mom." Denny sounded excited. "A friend of my commanding officer, who lives near Fort Benning, has found a house for us to rent. There will be plenty of room for all of us."
"That's wonderful!" Lanie replied. "I'm looking forward to experiencing new things and enjoying my family. I'm sorry I didn't react better when you first told me the news. I was thinking only about myself, but I realize that we are all facing a new situation with our own fears and concerns."
"Thanks, Mom. Hearing that God's already been working in you and in our housing situation gives me confidence that He will help each of us to adjust and make whatever changes we need to make."
"Yes, He will. As we used to recite when you were growing up, we will 'trust in the Lord with all [our] heart and lean not on [our] own understanding; in all [our] ways [we will] acknowledge him, and he will make [our] paths straight.'"*
© by Nancy A. Stevens
* Proverbs 3:5,6 (NIV)