It is hard very hard to not be present in body with all of you. Grandpa was a unique man much like the characters in the western shows he loved. He was someone who built something from scratch, who left a legacy to his family. We have had the privilege to work side by side, to be influenced and molded by not only our parents but our grandparents as well. His work ethic, his dedication to family, his dedication to God are things we must continue to learn from. He was a singular minded dedicated individual who if he said he would do something you better not disagree. He was also generous and treated employees well. I see those qualities passed on in my father and have tried to learn from them.
Last Sunday I happened to be preaching at church. I had nothing, felt empty and drained. I only wanted to be home with the family, I went several times to call someone else and ask that they share instead. However I sensed the presence of the Lord assuring me to go ahead. Sunday afternoon as I still sat empty God reminded me of a passage that speaks of legacy, Deuteronomy 6:1-9. I have to admit I really didn’t prepare at all, I just shared from the heart what God was reminding me of the legacy Grandpa and Grandma have tried to leave us.
They read and studied their bibles, they applied themselves to practicing what they learned. Most if not all the things we loved about them were because of the character developed in their lives in their spiritual walk. God was first, they weren’t perfect but they didn’t place their faith on the back burner. It was central to their lives, they rarely worked on Sunday more rare they didn’t go to church. Their walk with God wasn’t limited to church or religiosity, it was sincere. They wanted to bless others with what God had given them. I remember one time a bus showed up full of some young people 20 years to late for the hippy movement. They asked if they could work for a bit of food. Grandpa took them to the house let them shower and take naps, grandma fed them and they were sent on their way with some vegetables, no work.
It struck me yesterday if I want to pass that legacy on to my kids I not only need to teach them what the bible says but make myself available the way my grandparents did. Available to God, to hear him, obey him and be used by him. I must be an active participant that I might have something to remember and teach.
As I returned home from Church and got the call from Jody that he had entered his final hours I was comforted by so many memories. Perhaps the most powerful was a time at Buena vista when I returned home from Brazil. I shared at church what had happened what God was teaching me. At the end of the service Grandpa made his way up front, and began to share how he was a hard man, not tender enough. How he hadn’t told us enough that he loved us, then turned to me and told me he loved me and was proud of me. That was probably 16 years ago. From that day forward I remember him going to extra effort to say those things more often, to be tender. I think it may have drove grandma a bit nuts after 40 some years of marriage to suddenly having him go soft and say he loved her all the time, buying jewelry and things.
It taught me we must always remain humble and ready to learn. That was another part of his legacy. After retiring and selling the farm he dedicated himself to reading, history, self-improvement the bible. Of course whatever he was learning must have been something I needed to learn too.
I also was flooded with memories of sledding at Mary’s Peak, I was 7 and as I went down the hill on his back we went over a jump and he fell out the center of the tube, I happened to land on it without him, thought it was the funniest thing. I remember moving pipe with him, having lunch at their house, him napping as he did every day. We walked out to go back to work and the old blue van had vanished. We both just stood there looking around absolutely astonished. Then both seen the van several hundred yards down the road and out into the Christmas trees, he hadn’t put it in park. I think the whole state of Oregon collectively breathed a sigh of relief when the doctor took his license. I also remember the fear in my stomach pulling out onto highway 20 when he could no longer turn his head. Not being able to see if any traffic was coming he would just gun it and away we went. I remember going to Yellowstone and sleeping in the back of the truck with him, waking up under a sheet of ice. I remember us thinking of leaving him at little big horn because he had to read every sign no matter how many of them simply said beware of snakes stay on the path.
I miss you Grandpa and am thankful I will soon be with you. Thank you for the legacy, thank you for showing us to repent and know God is better than anything else we can have on this earth. I am so comforted knowing you are home with your savior. See you soon