Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)
TITLE: Valuable Lessons
By Penny Schultz
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My grandfathers were both called Roy, men of the land. They knew the feel and smell of fresh plowed soil. They wore it on their clothing. Their faces were browned with hours spent in the afternoon sun. Yet, each came from different worlds; each had different dreams and different disappointments in life.
My father’s Roy hailed from the blue grass of Kentucky. His people were in tobacco. He’d been in World War I, proud to serve his country. He’d met a pretty nurse in Indianapolis and moved her to a small farm in north central Indiana. He spent the rest of his days working 80 acres, taking care of his small family.
His life wasn’t entirely happy. My grandma, Nana had been raised in a social atmosphere, but married, she found herself in the middle of nowhere. For reasons hidden within her, she retreated to the happy days of her past. I don’t know who she perceived my grandpa to be, but she saw my father as her brother. I remember her only, sitting in a chair watching all that was happening around her. Looking back, I often wonder what was going on in her mind. Who did she think my sister, brother and I were? She was always smiling, seemed happy, but never really there.
My other grandfather, Roy, was no longer farming when I came to know him. He would hire himself out to help on a friend’s farm in our small community. He and my grandmother had seven children, two of which had died somehow. Both of their remaining sons served in World War II, one of which became a POW. When my grandmother learned this news, she became completely white headed overnight; at least that is the story that I was told.
I don’t know what went on in his mind and heart. He never shared his life with me, not that I recall. Sometimes I think that I would have liked to crawl inside his mind, sift through his memories and find there the wisdom that would help me and my children in the things we face from day to day. His wisdom died with him. I’m sure he had valuable things to share, but the stroke left him unable to speak well until one day, he was gone.
Grandma Ada, his wife, was left alone for around thirty years or more. She also kept her wisdom to herself. I remember her homemade noodles and blueberry pie, but I don’t remember her sharing her life with me. She was special. She did many wonderful things for my family, faithfully, without complaint.
I know that there was so much that my grandparents might have taught me, if their circumstances had been different. However, by watching how they lived, and by listening to stories told by my mom and dad, I’ve still gained from their lives.
My grandparents taught me about faithfulness. Jesus teaches that there is no greater love than this; to lay down one’s life for another. My father’s father didn’t physically die for his wife, but he lay down his life every day, putting aside his dreams to work hard day and night to provide a home for her, even though she probably didn’t even know who he was. My mother’s father probably buried his pain and consequently hiding himself, as well. He may have been faithful, but I didn’t get to see it.
My grandmother was also faithful. She was a joyful servant to her family, even though she was alone. I believe that she found strength in the Lord, though she wasn’t one to attend a church. Where else can one get that kind of strength?
I am now a grandmother of four. I have three more children to marry, so I will most likely have several more. I want to keep in my heart the value that I have for their lives, looking for every opportunity to share it with them. I pray they learn, faithfulness and service to others by watching how I live.
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