Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Grandpa and Me

Today is the 4 year anniversary of my Grandpa's death. He was 91 and really healthy. He was taking Grandma, whom he was caring for in their home, to the eye doctor when he missed his turn, pulled to the right to then make a U-turn and pulled out in front of a car. He hit the side windshield. When the ambulance arrived he told the paramedics that he didn't want to go to the hospital, but when he layed down on the stretcher he soon lost conciousness and never regained it. Apparently he had bleeding in his brain and was too old to operate to relieve the pressure.

I came to the hospital the next day and pinched his big toes, told him to wake up, told him I still had things to ask him. Realizing that it wasn't going to happen, I told him I was OK if he wanted to go Home. I know it's not all about me. But he was once my best friend and I wanted him to know I was OK.

Grandpa was born in a farm house which I believe was built by his father. He grew up to farm the same land that his father farmed and that now my father and brother farm. Grandpa lost his dad and had to help his family survive. He never failed to work hard. He also gave of himself for his church, for his God and for others around him.

He loved his 2 kids and his wife and gave them a wonderful life. I was Grandpa's first granchild. He loved to play and tease and love on me in ways I can't even remember. But I remember that he taught me to fish. I remember that he helped me learn to do some work on the farm and in the shop. I remember that he helped me process some of my understanding of theology. I remember that he fostered my love for Southern Gospel music.
I used to go to Grandpa's and perform magic shows. I used to invite him to every music program, hit him up for every fundraiser, show him all of my accomplishments. There were a few times when I chose to go to Grandpa and tell him my failures. I always remember him being proud of me. Even when I failed he saw the good in me, pointed out the best about me and reminded me that it is in God's power that I move forward and make changes where I need to.
I wish I could still ask him questions. I wish I could still share my dreams with him. I wish I could still tell him my hurts and failures. I wish I could still fish with him. Life was so much richer when I was with him. I am so much richer having been a part of his life.
I hope that when my grandkids write on the 4th anniversary of my death that they can say half of the things about me that I can say about him.
I wish you knew him too.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Navigating New Waters

I thought the decade of being 30 was tough. It was. No doubt about it. What I was hoping was that the decade of being 40 would be easier. It's not. Darn it. Can you believe I have actually thought about the 50's and 60's and realized it's closer than ever?!

Now I'm not like some people I know who acted and talked like they were old when they were 37 or so. I'm doing things people who are young do. I even thought about water skiing today and how I want to do it again next summer. I want to keep shooting hoops with my son. I want to camp and not be miserable while I do it. I'll leave the marathons for others. No need for me to go overboard.

But really, I like slip-on shoes now. They're easier to get on. I don't want to eat differently or exercise. I know I should, but I just don't want to. Things hurt that shouldn't hurt. I'm wearing glasses while I type this.

That not even what I really meant to talk about when I titled this post "navigating new waters" in my 40's. It just seems like there are so many new issues and ideas to work through. I have a daughter contemplating college and it's less than 2 years away now. I have a 13 year old boy who no longer wants to live with mom and dad for the rest of his life. He is actually thinking about several career choices. I have a 6 year old who doesn't need me to read things to her anymore. She can learn and discover all on her own. She remembers important details. She uses logic better than some teens. How do I navigate all of that?

And then there are the changing relationships. How to navigate that...Are the rules changing? Did I miss something? Why does connecting seem harder? What's going on? Why do people seem to have less time? How come we're not invited to dinner?
Now our country is navigating new waters as well. Tonight I watched part of the 1992 Debates between George Bush Sr., Ross Perot, and Bill Clinton. One member of the audience asked when the candidates thought a minority or a woman would be on the ticket. My daughter jumped up and yelled at the TV "18 years...It will be in 18 years!" This is a historic time for our country and we can all have a part in that. Well, as long as you are 18 and a registered voter.
I am just so grateful that I don't have to walk alone. It doesn't mean that I don't attempt to walk alone more often than I care to reveal. I think we all struggle with that. But there were times in my 30's when I could have choosen to walk alone. Instead I grabbed hold of the Hand that was always reaching for me. As I reflect, there were those times in my 20's and in my teens too. So navigating the 40's...
Are you reaching for the Hand that is being offered to you?