Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Granddad

I had a unique childhood in that both sets of grandparents were living and lived close to us, so I really got to know them all.  Our greatest struggle in living in WI {or WA, for that matter} is not having grandparents close for the kids. 

My dad's dad passed away in September, two months before his ninety-first birthday.  He was a godly, funny, and very humble man.  He was bent over so that he looked at the floor in his natural position, and you knew he was in great pain, but then he would say things like, "Nice shoes!" to remind you that he wasn't letting it get him down.

For my first few years as a teacher, I came home in the summers.  During one of those, my granddad broke his back.  He was getting X rays done, and the technicians were trying to lay him flat to get a good picture, but you can't lay a man with bones that brittle flat.  They cracked some vertebrae, and he was in excruciating pain for months.  He could not sleep in a bed, but used an easy chair with pillows placed where needed.  We all took turns staying there so we could help care for him.  One night, at around two o'clock, I heard a noise.  I ran downstairs, thinking he might need me.  There, I heard him praying, "Thank you, Lord, for the twenty minutes of sleep you just gave me." 

I cry whenever I think of this.  He was uneducated, but knew more about scripture than nearly anyone I know.  He was wise.  He thanked the Lord for the minutes of sleep he got instead of complaining of the hours of sleep he wasn't getting. 

On his bathroom mirror was a piece of paper.  This was written on it:

This is a new day.  God has given me this day to use as I will.  I can waste it - or use it for good, but what I do today is important, because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.  When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for it.  I want it to be gain, and not loss; good, and not evil; success, and not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price that I have paid for it.

I want to be like him when I grow up.

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