Wednesday, September 17, 2014

As You Go
            Rarely does a person realize the gift that they are to those around them until it’s too late.  They trudge through life doing what they have to, to make ends meet.  Hoping all the while, that they are making a difference somewhere, they continue to move forward collecting regrets along the way.
            It is likely that we all know at least one person fitting this description.  The one that comes to my mind is my Father-In-Law, Grandpa Craig.  He was stubborn and graceful, tough and soft.  There were days when I wanted to scream my head off at him and days when I wanted to give him a huge hug.  Life around grandpa was an adventure, to say the least. 
            Unfortunately, he died just 1 week ago.  It was sudden and completely without warning.  He was mowing and his heart just gave out.
            We received the horrific phone call and could not believe what we heard.   Grandpa was gone.  Immediately, we knew we needed to be by mom’s side.  The nine to ten hour trip seemed to drag on forever.  We just wanted to be sure she was ok.  When we arrived, we were relieved to see that she was surrounded by loved ones. 
            Grandpa Craig’s viewing was a shock for all of us.  Three hundred people patiently waited to pay their respect.  Shaking each and every hand, mom stood and listened intently to the stories people had to share.  Grandpa helped to mow the lawns of widows.  He also coached track, volunteered to do military funerals, lead the boy scouts, took communion to shut-ins, and so much more.  With each person, the list grew while eight little grandkids gained a better understanding of who their grandpa really was. 
            Those of us, who felt guilty for being upset with him at times, watched it all happen with condemned amazement.  He truly touched a vast array of lives. 
            The funeral, the next day, was a beautiful testament to a strong man who raised two spectacular men. Grandpa was a man who served God, family, and others.  These characteristics are also found in them.  However flawed it might have been at times, Grandpa pointed others to God and glorified Him for it.  He brought God glory with both his life and his death.
            During the next couple days, we spent time looking through paperwork.  Contained in a stack of random things, I saw a paper he wrote simply entitled, “ESSAY”. The essay had not been completed, yet it gave insight into the mind of a man who struggles in the same way we all do.
            In the essay, Grandpa contemplated what could have been.  He loved watching Judge shows as a kid, and thought that he would’ve been happier if he could have been a lawyer.  He claimed that if he could change the past, everything would be better.
            This composition did not speak to me because I believe everyone should try to change their pasts.  It spoke volumes because it showed that even a man of 62, with wisdom and years of knowledge, contemplates these things.  Little did he know how much God was using him, right where he was!
            I believe Dad envisioned himself as unsuccessful because of a lay-off he endured.  Yet even that, was a gift from above.  The lay-off enabled him to have time for the widows, the broken hearted, and those who needed a hand.

            So, as you take inventory of the life you have led, let it not be an inventory of the money in your accounts and the position in your company.  But rather let it be an inventory of the lives you have touched, the joy you have spread, and the love you have given.  Give away that which you have been given, as Grandpa did, giving God the glory as you go.