“The road you leave behind you is another road you’re gonna have to go back down. It’s just the way this big ole world turns round. You’ll find sometime you gotta go back down the road you leave behind” (David Lee Murphy, 1996).
I want to write about my grandparents for a minute, ya know, since it is Grandparent’s day and all.
My grandparents are so amazing. I mean, I know that sounds so cliche, but it is also so very true in this instance. If I said I had nothing but fond memories, I’d be lying and doing them a disservice because, while most of my memories are fond, there were obvious teaching moments during my childhood (AND adulthood) that were not so easy to hear (and to be honest, I don’t recall them, really, but I KNOW they are there because I know my grandparents).
Before I go any further, though, I want to really impress upon you all just how blessed you are if you have living grandparents and how important it is to show them respect and love and to take care of them. You literally would not be here if not for them, so show some respect. If you are my age, your grandparents probably lived through things such as at least one world war, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and the like. These people lived more frugally than we could EVER imagine and yet still raised their children with love and discipline that seem to be a lost art anymore. (Ok, so maybe I speak for my own grandparents in this aspect, but that is how I see them.)
So, I want to paint a picture of my grandma first, and in my eyes, this is what a grandma should always look like (and feel like). I KNOW that sounds really narrow minded, but to me, my grandma is a story book grandma and I wanna be just like her when I grow up!
So my grandma is short (though being short is not a requirement for a grandma), and soft. And by soft I mean that she radiates a softness; a gentleness that makes her always approachable. In my memories of my grandma there is almost always laughter and a plate of cookies and chocolate cake with peanut butter (or yummy fudge) icing, always homemade. She always has a ready smile, even now when the last year (two actually) has been so very hard for her. She is so loving and it is easy to love her. When I think of her, I think of Proverbs 31—“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done” (25-31 NIV). She is faithful and loving and honest and kind and generous and so many other things. She has blessed me and my family in so many ways and she is so dear to my heart! I cherish her so much, and seriously, I hope I can follow her lead and be this kind of mother and grandma to my own.
Now for my granddad…when I think of my granddad the first thing I think of is ornery and stern. Now, these two things may SEEM like polar opposites, but they really go together well. You see, my granddad was a godly man, but he did not lose his childlike sense of humor ever. My granddad was obedient and expected obedience, which seemed harsh to some, even to me at times, but I totally get it now. Granddad was also very hard of hearing and certain noises just grated right to his ear drum so we had to be careful about noise around him. When he spoke, you know he had something good to say because of his hearing. If he had something to say, you were to be quiet and listen because it was either hysterical, or profound, and he was a very wise man. I remember last year, not long before he died, he said something to me that I still can’t get out of my head. We were talking about how my family had been considering an out of state move but I kept holding off because one family member or another needed me and it wasn’t a good time to leave so and so. My granddad leaned over (which meant something wise was coming) and said “Cissy, if you keep waiting for the right time for everyone else you’re never gonna find it. It’ll never come. If you keep waiting, you’re not gonna get to live your own life”. Such wisdom…granddad saying this reminded me that even though I was striving to take care of my family, I might be disobeying the Lord by ignoring His call to go elsewhere.
When I think of my granddad, a Psalm comes to my mind “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the LORD. May the LORD bless you from Zion” (Psalm 128:1-5 NIV).
These things were my granddad who (along with my cherished dad) was the model I looked to when I found my own husband.
My grandparents weren’t just great individually, but their marriage was an example for me as well. They persevered through many trials, and you know this one crazy thing? My grandparents NEVER went to bed angry with one another. They both told me many times how they would lose sleep for a night or two before they slept on their anger. This is just…well, it’s miraculous, really! They also weren’t afraid to be affectionate and always made each other a priority no matter what. My granddad loved my grandma and my grandma showed him respect, two things a marriage thrives on—“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33 NIV). They may not be perfect (because, ya know, they are human) but they were such excellent examples.
Which brings me to my final point—if you have even the slightest opportunity and your grandparents are on this earth still, serve them if you can in any way you can. You have no idea the difference this makes in their lives. It may take some creative reasoning skills, and it may humble them a bit, but serve them when you can while you can. They won’t be here forever. Trust me, I know. I never dreamed of losing my grandparents as a little girl. I never imagined a world without my grandma or granddad in it, but last November the world I never dreamed became a reality and we lost my dear granddad. Guys, get the one last hug. Tell them you love them. Mow, scrub, sweep, and visit because tomorrow might not come. I could talk about my grandparents all day long, really. Just remember that you will have to walk the road again one day when you are a grandparent…you will have to come back down the road you leave behind.
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, ‘The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.’” (Psalm 92:12-15 NIV).