Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)
By Bill Obenauer
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I hated my gift. When I first discovered it, it seemed like a gift that would have so much potential, but I constantly misused it. I hated being asked to give a performance whenever someone I loved passed away. I hated having people congratulate me on how well I publicly articulated my feelings for the deceased. Most of all, I hated knowing that someone was going to Hell and having to stand in front of a group of loved ones and give them a false hope.
My sister, on the other hand, had the gift of visual presentation. She had the ability to make a toilet look like a piece of art so when our mother gave her seven shoe boxes full of pictures and asked her to make something beautiful, she exceeded any expectations that we could have had.
Knowing that my sister had been asked to display her works in the family room, I walked in not to admire them, but with hopes that her labors would be the focus of that area and I may go unnoticed. As I entered the room, I noticed the faint smell of my grandfather's cologne that had been spritzed in the air and I immediately felt as if he was still with us. Then, my eyes were drawn to his desk where she had rested his favorite hat just as he always did whenever he sat down to pay bills. His coat was hung over the chair, and an open scrapbook rested on the desk, displaying a black and white photo that had been yellowed by time. I glanced around the room and noticed several people flipping though photo albums as well as an old home movie that was running on the television.
Then it happened. A friend of the family came up to me and grabbed my arm sobbing the words, "Your eulogy today was the most..." As soon as I realized what he was saying, I began to tune it out. Like I said, I hated being praised for a eulogy.
"You G-- D----- son of a B----," I heard my grandfather say through the speakers of the television set. I immediately excused myself and scurried outside.
Prior to that day, it had been twelve years, eight months, and six days since I had smoked a cigarette. On the way from the cemetery to the house, my chest began to feel heavy, as if I was wearing one of those lead shields that the dentist puts on you when he x-rays your jaw. After bearing that weight for a few miles of the drive, I felt too weak to fight the urge and I stopped at a gas station to buy a pack. The first one I smoked felt so good, but as I took my first drag of this one, I didn't feel any better. Hearing my grandfather's words on the television was just a reminder that he had never come to know Jesus Christ.
Then, my grandfather's lawyer walked up to me and said, "You're a tough man to find. I missed you at the church. Look, I know the reading is not until Wednesday, but per your grandfather's instructions, I was supposed to give this to you after the service today. I'm sorry for your loss." With that, he handed me a small cardboard box and walked away.
I opened the box and immediately recognized the NKJV bible that I had given to him the only time that I had ever tried to speak to him about Christ. The binding was worn and there was a short handwritten note taped to the front cover. It read, "I never told you, but I accepted Him. Love, Pop."
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