Today I realize more fully the impact that my grandfather had on my life as a child. My parents separated when I was young and I grew up with my mom and older sister. While my dad continued to keep in touch with me my and sister, I wanted/expected much more from him than the occasional phone call or weekend holiday visit. I felt that I really didn’t know him and craved to have a father figure in my life. There were seasons where I looked to men at church and found qualities that I desired in a father, but those were only seasons and I desired a father-son bonding that really didn’t fit into those contexts.
After my grandmother passed away in the early eighties, we began to spend more time with my grandfather as a family. Almost every Saturday morning he would drive his truck over to our house for a pancake breakfast. Afterwards he would often take me for a ride in his truck to run an errand, get our haircut together, or go visit a family friend. I didn’t realize it then, but this Saturday morning ritual provided a father-like bonding experience for me that I would grow to cherish.
My grandfather was a man of few words, but what I learned from being around him was invaluable. His humility, kindness, generosity, and compassion drew me towards Christ and made me want to be around him more and more. Sixteen years after his death, I realize that I would not be who I am today without his involvement in my life. The debt I owe my grandfather is the continuing debt to love others as he loved me when I was a scrappy little kid with not much to offer in return.