This morning I was showing the children my Bible with my name engraved on it from when I was 7 years old. My grandfather gave it to me at Christmas 1976. I showed them the three verses he wrote in the front of the Bible that he wanted me to know: Proverbs 22:1, Jeremiah 33:3, and II Timothy 2:15. That Bible was and still is an absolute treasure to me, and I’ve carried those verses in my heart throughout my lifetime.
What we didn’t know when my grandfather gave me the Bible was that he would be dead only 3 months later, found dead in his home after having a cardiac arrest at age 64.
My grandfather was one of the most kind, gentle, tenderhearted men I have ever known. I remember him vividly and so many experiences with him. I remember the jokes we would tell, the food we would eat (hominy and peanut butter/bacon sandwiches were among our favorites), his garage full of children’s classic books (he was a distributor), his yard and the sandbox, his car, his neck with the creases in the back, his candy box, the dolls he gave me, him letting me fry bacon by myself, and him treating the bubbling blister from the boiling grease that slapped my hand!
Since my own father had died in a car wreck when I was a baby, my grandfather was such a gift from the Lord to stand in the gap. Rarely in life do you have someone who you can know loved you with complete and unconditional love. He was the sweetest man… I don’t have one single memory of him every being mad or unhappy. He never yelled at us. He was compassionate and loving to his core. He loved God, and he loved people, and people loved him.
I’m thankful the Lord gave me 7 years with him, and I’m thankful he gave me that Bible when he did before it was too late. I’m thankful for letters I have from him so I can know what he thought and prayed for me. As I see those prayers come to fruition, I see the power of prayer, even though it may not be realized for many years.
I was married on his birth date, and my son is named after him. I would think that he has likely had the biggest impact on my life as he was present during such critical young years, providing acceptance and love, a picture to me of God’s unconditional love.
Surely he had his weaknesses, but they were unknown to me. In my eyes, he was perfect, and I have not even one single memory to conclude otherwise.
So I praise the Lord for this godly man and his legacy. I know that things that have happened in my life may be the very result of his prayers for me during those early years. What a blessing and encouragement to pray for these things in the lives of my children as well.