On Friday morning Bonny's Grandpa Joe passed away. I had only met the man a handful of times, but what I saw in him sticks with me even now as I'm typing up this blog.
Lesson #1 - Generosity...every time I met Grandpa Joe, I left his presence with something in my hand...money, stories, time spent, a firm handshake and random stuff from his house. The great memory I have of him is from our wedding. Grandpa Joe had been really sick every since I knew him, but even though it was a challenge for him to be at our wedding, he was there. Pulling me aside, he shoved $300 in my hand and asked me to by Bonny a nice sandwich. This was one of the many moments where Grandpa Joe showed his love and care for others by giving them stuff. As my father in-law was going through his dad's things after his passing, he found out that Grandpa Joe had been sponsoring 4 kids through World Vision for the last 10 years without anyone knowing. That was Grandpa Joe...giving to people and not gathering attention to himself. In Matthew 6, Jesus talks about giving in secret. Grandpa Joe lived this simple truth...he gave and served others. He and Grandma Evelyn bought both my kids presents and kept sending things to them even though we saw each other rarely.
Lesson #2 - Love. Grandpa Joe and Grandma Evelyn enjoyed a story-book romance. He was the war hero and she was the fair maiden. She left everything for him and vice versa. I can remember being in their home a few years back. Grandma was standing in the kitchen and Grandpa got up to fix tea for himself. On his way past her he pinched her butt and said something like "he pretty lady." This was their type of romance. At 85 years of age this man was still COMPLETELY captivated by his lifelong partner. After his passing, my father in-law went through Grandpa Joe's wallet and the first thing that fell out was a picture of Grandma...he carried her with him always as we will carry him.
Lesson #3 - Gift of conversation. Saydie is only 2 years old, but she is a bright little girl. She LOVES engaging people in conversation. When Grandpa Joe went to the hospital after falling at home, we began talking to Saydie about him. After his passing, we mentioned to her that Grandpa Joe is now in heaven with Jesus. Today Saydie told Bonny that she wants to go to heaven too in order to be with Jesus. This is yet another gift our living legend leaves behind for us as his family...the opportunity to engage another generation in conversation about Christ.
These are just 3 of the many that Bonny & I have learned from Grandpa Joe. Life is a true gift, and Grandpa Joe's life is a gift that will keep on giving through the memories that linger in our hearts and minds.
I hope my life reflects my love for God when my time is over...