Sunday, June 16, 2013

Consistent, he

I wrote this piece about my grandfather months before he died. I repost today in honor of father's day. I love you Granddaddy, and miss you!

My Grandfather's bible and one of the things I cherish most

As a child I frequently spent the night at my grandparents' house along with three of my cousins who were around my age.  Every night after a day of playing and surely some fighting, my grandmother would give us all baths and put us in pajamas.  And the pajamas were of the super-hero variety.

They were not Batman or Superman or any of the others. They were my grandfather's old shirts.  And as she would pull them over my head I could smell my grandfather's aftershave.  There was always comfort in that smell. I was the biggest little boy with his shirt on.

I always knew I was growing up just by where the lower hem of his shirt reached my body.  First down to my ankles, then down to my calves, then to the knees.  I measured my growth as a boy by the consistency of his size.

And in the morning we would assemble in the breakfast room where my grandmother put together a veritable feast (she always made us menus the night before and we each got to check off what we wanted.  And it would always be made just the way we ordered it.  Every.  Single.  Time!). And when I would reach up to give my grandfather a morning hug, I would notice just how strong my Granddaddy was.  I measured my strength as a boy by the consistency of his embrace.

And Sunday mornings when he would preach, he would look into the congregation and find his family.  And from the pulpit he would ask us to stand.  As we stood I would well up with such pride.  It was my Granddaddy taking time to say "hello" to me.  To me!  I measured my pride as a boy by the consistency of his acknowledgment.

And just after 09/11/01, I went to Texas for a three week visit.  My grandfather asked if he could take me to lunch.  He asked me to recount what that terrible day in September was like.  He was the only member of my family to do so.  And as I told him the horror he listened intently and said, "You're the only person I know who was there. That took a lot of courage, son.  You are a strong young man.  I am so proud of you."  I measured my worth as a young man by the consistency of his love.

And sometimes in the not so distant future the memories will be all I have. And the day will come and he will leave.  And the chains will loosen and he will be set free from the confines of his now frail body. And the man I adored all my life will be before God for whom he lived his life.  And the gates will open, the angels will rejoice and my grandfather will enter...measured by the consistency of His grace.
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