Grandpa- 101 Years of Example

I have to admit.  I have been a little down the past few days.  The reality of the change we are up against with regards to the Corona Virus has hit me more than once.  I’ve found myself thinking about how easy I’ve had it the past 49 years, and now it seems my world has been grabbed by one end and shaken out like a dusty rug at the entry way of a house.  Dust is flying everywhere and I’m not sure when the air will clear enough for me to breathe.  I was complaining to God about my feelings the other morning.  “My world will never be the same…” Then I was gently reminded, “Is that what you wanted? Did you want your world to never change?”  Good point.  Maybe my comfort levels, my ease… that would be good to leave them alone.  But the very changes I have prayed for in my world, those would be good to adjust. 

Here’s the deal… Change is a part of life.  You can’t dodge it or escape.  It happens and you have to just go through.

My Grandpa was born in 1914.  He died a few years ago just a few days shy of his 101st Birthday.  When he was 4 years old the world was in the midst of another infamous pandemic, The Spanish Flu.  I never heard him talk about it, so he may have been young enough to not remember it much, but I do remember hearing stories about his life during The Great Depression. How as a boy he hunted and fished, not for pleasure, but to help feed his siblings and himself, so much so that he wasn’t much a fan of either when he got older. He just went to the pond and watched us fish.  He witnessed World War I and II, the Korean War, and Vietnam War, the war his oldest son fought in and was faced with uncertainty of how that would end up for him, he came home.  He had loved ones born and loved ones die, among which were infant grandbabies.  He lost a great grandson, my nephew in the Gulf of Aden- lost at sea while serving with the United States Navy.  He saw marriages in the family, he saw divorces.  He stood at the side of the casket of his only lifelong love of 60 plus years gazing at her and commenting on how young she looked, like the days before they had moved from Kansas decades before.  He outlived all his siblings, 7 of them, and most of his friends. In fact towards the end, that fact kind of hit him- “I’m the last one left.”

He saw changes, but I never saw him fearful or complain. In fact, I’ve only mentioned a portion of the challenges he faced in his 101 years on earth, but the memories I have of him are not of a man filled with fear. Instead it was a quiet man, who would always greet me with a hug and ask me, “How’s my girl?”  Grandpa just adjusted to it all somehow.  He had Faith in Jesus, evidenced to me by his presence in his spot every Sunday and Wednesday at church in the back right hand corner pew all the years of my life until he couldn’t drive to church any more some time in his 90’s.  He lived his life, and he went on. He did what he had to do, and he enjoyed what he had, his farm, his business, his family , his God, and his life.

Grandpa never escaped the changes, and neither will I.  Some will bring joy, some incredible sadness. I guess what matters most is how I end up going through them.  I look at the current situation of my world, and I can’t see a way that any of it is going to get any better any time soon, but I’m certain there were times my Grandpa must have felt the same way. But he made it through with stories to tell of the better times of life. Stories of drag racing Model T’s and boat racing with “The Tub”. In his older years, playing “The Game” and Mowing his lawn gave him great joy. Grandpa rarely talked about the bad, the hard, the sad.  He had many stories to tell of other times, which is probably what helped him to live so long.

I’ve often said I wanted to make it to at least 90. I have a lot of living I want to do.  It’s easy to forget that in order to make it that long, I’ll have to live through the good times and the bad.  But the main thing is to live life with joy.  I must experience the life that is before me now, do my best to live my life with my Faith in Jesus as my guide, enjoy the good things along the way and know that even when things are painful, God is there to hold me close as I go through.  Ultimately I will make it through the ups and downs of this life and some day live free in heaven.  That’s what my day of contemplating Grandpa’s life has taught me.  101 years of his example has spoken a lot more than what his words could have ever said.

 

 

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