Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Thursday is my grandfather's birthday. What I would give to catch him sitting in that front porch swing in a pair of overalls, long enough for me to sit down and ask him a few questions.
This will be our second year without him. Truth be told, I pretty well ignored it last year. I was still numb from losing him that spring. People mourn in different ways. My grandpa is in Heaven, and I have no doubt about it and it's not an issue for me most days. I got the honor of preaching his funeral, and I am proud that God gave me strength to deliver a message I was proud to stand up for. He taught me to be confident, to stand tall, to fight when it was worth it but to make sure you hit the target with the right heart.
I've been by his gravesite twice since he left. Truthfully, I'm just not much about monuments and with all due respect to those people who grieve by talking to a stone - and that's ok, mind you - it's just not me. Perhaps that is why I write it here instead. Isn't it all the same?
This week is perhaps the most memorable in my life. My birthday is Friday, one day after his. I was born on the Tuesday after Labor Day 1975 and every year following, my family celebrated our birthdays together. I was the first grand-child, so though we're all important I have the longest tenure and that makes me special but he loved us all the same.
But Thursday being my grandfather's birthday, and Friday mine, I somehow picked the following weekend as the launch of Revolution Church and never considered that it would be the same week. September 12, 2010, my grandfather and I were in church - I think - for the last time together until the day his casket sat in front of the pulpit at Halltown General Baptist.
He came to our launch. The music was probably a bit modern for his taste but I guarantee his foot was tapping the whole time. He loved music. He was a bold, deep bass singer and had a group with most of my family out of our home church which traveled many places to sing about Jesus. They had to roll him into the gym at H.B. Williams Elementary School for the opening service with an oxygen tank, but in years past he taught me the poise to stand in front of a crowd. At less than five years old, he allowed me to stand on stage while he was the worship leader at Halltown.
You wouldn't believe it, but grandma actually hid an old microphone in her purse with no cord and when we got home from church every Sunday, she'd hide it on top of the china cabinet in her kitchen which had a groove on the inside edge to keep me from finding it. But on Sunday, she'd let me carry it on stage. Maybe it was childish, but I guarantee you it was the beginning of my ability to stand up for Jesus.
Grandpa was never much on dressing up but he could do it with the best. I still have a few of his ties. But he was as comfortable in a pair of Liberty overalls as he was a suit and tie which my grandmother likely had sewn together by hand. When he came to our launch there he was - dark sunglasses to protect his eyes outside, and button-up shirt with suspenders. He waved at everyone. He even waved at me that day the first time I saw him.
Do you know what I would give to have every Saturday back - those times I spent setting up and tearing down at the elementary school which was the life of our church for 70 weeks before we moved into a facility? I'd just had soon left the curtains down, turned the lights off and let the music be acoustic and instead go sit on the front porch with my grandpa. It's all my fault really when it comes to time - we each make our own and my best wishes can't rewrite history. I don't regret it, but I am learning more about what is actually important.
So here we are, two years later. His second birthday we have celebrated without him. I really don't want to celebrate, mind you. I want Friday to breeze by. I want to work, I want to go to our football game and I want to ignore anything about the day.
What I'd really like to do is go to my grandpa's house.
So posthumously, you're going to have to endure it while I do.
"Grandpa, you got a minute?"