If you look around my offices,
(I have two; one at home, and one at church,)
You’ll see memorabilia on the tables, and all kinds of stuff hanging on the walls;
Stuff I’ve collected to remind me of places I’ve been, or people I’ve met, or things I’ve been able to do.
There are framed covers of books I’ve written hanging on my office wall.
Framed diplomas from institutions I’ve attended.
Credentials I’ve been granted for ordination and professional coaching certification.
Even a few awards I’ve been given over the years of my life.
In all honesty, after my wife hung those things on my office walls,
Or placed those things on the tables in my offices,
I never pay much attention to them. They’re just hangings on otherwise empty walls.
That’s not to say I don’t pay attention to any of the things
That hang on the walls or sit on the tables of my office, however.
There are a few framed things I notice almost every day.
They’re the pictures hanging on my walls of my grandkids.
No other honor — and I mean this with every hair that used to be on my head —
No other honor that could ever be experienced by me even remotely compares with …
The honor of being a Grandpa.
In my growing-up-years, I had the high and lofty honor of knowing BOTH of my grandpas.
Not just ‘knowing’ them, though; I didn’t just know who they were.
I got to hang out with them, and hear them tell me stuff, and show me stuff,
And leave their fingerprints on my life;
Fingerprints that were so indelibly etched into the fabric and fiber
Of my very person that I was changed on a very visceral level, just by being around them.
Every single time I was with them, I think,
Something about that process made me a better person.
They were very different men, were my grandpas,
And yet, in some ways they were similar.
Both were hunters.
One a staunch Democrat; the other, an equally staunch Republican.
One of them loved baseball, and listened to the Cardinals on the radio every night.
The other loved fishin’ and went every time he got a chance.
One was an elder in his tiny country church.
The other didn’t become a follower of Jesus until very late in his life,
And never was one much for church.
One of my grandpas took cream in his coffee,
And every morning as he sat eating the same breakfast he always ate,
— Two fried eggs, two pieces of bacon, and toast —
He sat with my granny, who had made that breakfast,
And He took his coffee and poured it into a saucer to cool,
Then drank it from that saucer.
I know he did, because I saw him do it a thousand times.
My other grandpa went into the tiny town where he lived to eat his breakfast,
He greeted other old timers in a cafe he frequented.
I know he went to town because every time we got a chance to visit him,
I went to town with him, and sat alongside him, and marveled at the respect he seemed to garner,
From the other men who sat around the table of that diner.
I listened to my grandpas, when they told me stories
About life when they were young,
And about life, now that they were old.
Those stories meant more to me than either of my grandpas could ever know.
I’m hoping to see all of my grandkids at some point, this summer.
When they get here, I won’t have to settle for looking at their pictures on my walls.
I’ll hear their voices, and laugh at their antics, and watch them enjoy hanging out with one another,
And hangin’ out with … me.
Most of the time, I’ll be wearing my St. Louis Cardinal hat.
I may even pour my morning coffee into a saucer and drink it, just so my grandkids can see how my grandpa used to do it. I don’t know.
I only pray the memories I pass along, and the stories I tell to my grandkids,
Will be as endearing and lasting as the memories I hold in my heart,
Planted there, by both my Grandpas.
I truly believe that ‘Grandpa’ is one of the greatest inventions God ever thought up. To be seen and revered in the eyes of my grandchildren is a high and lofty goal. I pray I live up to the challenge of living such a distinguished place of honor.
Proverbs 17:6 says it way better than I ever could: “Old people are distinguished by their grandchildren ….”