I'm sitting here on a Tuesday afternoon, taking a lunch break. I grabbed Culvers' deal of the day, which means I'm chowing down a cheddar butterburger and fries and a Dr. Pepper. Far from my normal healthy lunch but sometimes life happens and you're up late weeping the night before and don't get out of bed in time to pack a lunch.
As I sit here typing, my grandfather is slowly taking his final breaths in his earthly body. It rips my heart out to not be able to be there with him and my grandma. These are the times I want to curse all the hundreds of miles between us. All I can do is pray until I don't know what to pray anymore.
Even as the tears flow and my heart aches, there is such tremendous joy and peace we all have. Amidst our mourning, our hearts rejoice for Grandpa's sake. His pain, his suffering, his confusion: it's almost over. OVER! FOREVER! Jesus is waiting to welcome him home with arms wide open. Soon he will hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant." He will have no more tears.
This amazing man of God is finishing his race and he is finishing it well. The legacy he leaves behind for his children and grandchildren and great grandchildren is incredible. He has wholeheartedly followed his Savior and been an example to each of us.
Grandpa loved to laugh. He loved to crack jokes. He loved to poke fun. The mischievous sparkle in his eye is one of my favorite memories (maybe that's where I got my own mischievous look from?). His whole life, he has just been there -- for all of us. He and Grandma would drive hours and hours, just to be at a recital or movie shoot or graduation or some other special event in the lives of their children or grandchildren. It didn't matter how inconvenient, how many hours on the road, how many gallons of gas: they were there.
I was telling my sister-in-law last night...one of my most vivid and happy memories of him is so simple it seems silly. But it stands out so brightly in my mind. I was a teenager and he and Grandma were leaving our house in their motorhome. He had the window down and was smiling from ear to ear and waving. He looked so happy. I ran down and gave him one last peck on the cheek before they pulled out of the driveway. It's a moment I'll cherish for years and years to come.
The gratitude to our God for the memories and heritage He gave us through my grandpa is ginormous. We are blessed beyond measure. Even as we weep right now, we know joy is coming in the morning: for Grandpa and for us. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our God is walking him through this valley of the shadow of death.
And I am just so incredibly thankful amidst my tears.