was the only hindrance from taking the love of his life into his arms again…just like the photograph taken 75 years earlier.
The two of them, the life they live, the love they share – has become the gold standard by which their three sons and daughter established their own lives. The life and love of one son, gone too soon, to this day is still highly regarded and spoken of. The life, love, laughter and humor of yet another son gone too soon, can be recalled and his infectious laughter immediately brings a smile to your face. The life, love and fiery passion of yet another son, is felt as soon as he wraps his arms around you and shares his warm, tender, heartfelt hugs. Their daughter, and her constant love, attention, passion and devotion to each member of her family – is like a beacon to always remember love is, where your family is.
Three of their children blessed this beautiful couple with ten grandchildren, and I’m sure they would tell you, each of those grandchildren added to the love and joy they already felt they had. I was blessed to meet this loving couple 21 years ago, and became part of their family six years later, when their grandson and I married. We, along with the other grandchildren and their spouses, have been able to bless them with 15 great-grandchildren, so far. When we visited them on this day, Grandpa was sharing the “stats” of the family – stats I know he takes great pride in. Stats that matter to him, even though he’ll gladly discuss the talents and stats of each member in his family.
This family of theirs, they are talented! His children were in sports and played basketball and baseball with great skill. Their grandchildren the same; basketball, baseball, volleyball, tennis and newly added soccer and lacrosse, are some sports many of their great grandchildren are talented at – and do well in. He beams with pride as he listens to the stories of the winning shot or the tying goal. On this day we were recalling so many talents in the family (that’s what they like to do, focus on the positive each member of the family adds), and it was shared that they really didn’t possess any real talents, except maybe singing, but we couldn’t get Grandpa to break out into song. My husband, who adores his grandparents, was quick to share Grandpa was certainly talented with cars and body work. And he was. His small shop in their small town, was where he spent much of his time and many of his years working, but he’d tell you it wasn’t because he was talented, he was working for his family. And Grandma, well she could whip up something in the kitchen in no time if you popped in for a surprise visit, and bring such peace when you sat with her on the porch on a warm summer evening.
When we left there, I couldn’t help but continue to think of our time with them. When going to the grocery, I recalled times we’d run into Grandpa at the small town grocery and talk forever. When we visited our friends later that day, I recalled how Grandma and Grandpa would stop in to our house, and just sit and talk in our driveway. When attending church, I recalled how happy they were when we dropped by after church and shared with them we had been attending regularly and the girls had even been baptized. As we worked on our chicken coop, I recalled the joy in Grandma’s eyes as she remembered when she too tended her own chickens, because that was the way life was. Simple.
Simple, yet full of love. This is where my heart filled and my eyes welled up – their talent, their gift, is the greatest of all – LOVE. Every prayer Grandpa ever prayed over every dinner, came from a place of love. Love for the Lord, and love for his family. Every surprise visit and every phone call, came from a place of love. Love for his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Even when we made mistakes, and let me tell you some of us have, he met us with love. Never critical, judgmental, or harsh, but more like the father who clothed the prodigal son – come, sit, let’s talk, let me feed you, tell me how you are – I love you. When we’d gone a while without visiting, never was there an interrogation or attempt to make us feel bad, simply understanding. An understanding that it takes great time, energy and intention to sow love, and have faith you’ll one day see its fruit in the lives you love the most.
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