Grandad’s Training

I was in the midst of scanning childhood photos my mom had compiled into an album for me some time ago. The resulting sketch personalized and lent realism to the picture of my granddad, sister and me.

I sat on grandad’s lap to play,
      Engrossed in “Birdy fly away.”
And when I heard his trombone horn,
      My love for sound and song was born.
He pounded on the keyboard loud,
      And entertained the gathered crowd.
His voice rang out with lyrics clear;
      We all joined in; no hint of fear.
But most all his tales he’d tell:
      The lineman’s pole from which he fell.
Or pumping hard, track’s little car,
      The train was coming not too far!
The time with hammer and nail in hand,
      We built that house on vacant land!
Was there a thing he could not do,
      With simple tape or drops of glue?
As time wore on, now always there;
      He sat content in that old chair.
He looked and grinned and said, “Hello;”
      But soon it was his time to go.
He breathed his last in my old place;
      Five short a century saw God’s face.
And now I muse, though gone away,
      From heaven peering he did say:
“I’ve moved a lot along life’s track;
      With no regrets or looking back.
So trust in God, don’t look ahead;
      Embrace each day you have instead!”

Composed 9/4/1999; Edited 6/15/2018

This poem is a reflection on my granddad’s influence. He worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad.

One indicator of spiritual/emotional maturity is that more satisfaction results from understanding than in being understood. It is revealing that admiration of features (appearance, gifts, talents or performance) merely indicates an acknowledgment and appreciation of them, not a love for that person.

Facets are the authentic expression of one’s person (humor, empathy, loyalty, and temperament).

It becomes apparent that when one loves or is loved dearly and deeply, features are less critical than facets.

Features display performance, while facets, favorable or flawed, convey authentic character. Features may attract your attention to that person, but facets should be the basis for the relationship.

WhittledWord for 2/4/2015; edited 6/28/2016, 3/9/2018

The Package vs. the Person

“Death, Where is Your Sting?”

Today I noticed a Facebook post inquiry from a niece asking how long my parents had been married. I remembered and confirmed their marriage of 72 years when Mom passed in 2011, at the age of 91. Dad navigated a daunting year of loneliness and confusion, and then joined her in 2012 at the age of 96.

In revisiting the memorial bulletin I had crafted, I realized that I had composed a poem for the Mom memorial. Perhaps it will touch some of you out there as it moved me afresh a few hours ago.

When death had left its final sting,
The bells in heaven’s halls did ring.

She entered whole into His love;
Her feeble frame transformed above.

And now awaits her love below,
To mount his horse and upward go.

Oh, death your senseless sting is slight,
When from this earth we take our flight.

To dwell where time has lost its grip,
To Him we love—our final trip!

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

1 Corinthians 15:54–58, New Living Translation

Originally posted in 2018