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Last week I traveled to my hometown for my grandpa’s funeral. Just shy of his 93rd birthday, his health had been declining in recent weeks, and we were prepared for his passing. As people tend to do during the grieving process, we remembered. We sat and looked through photo albums, remembering Grandpa’s red sweater that made an appearance every Christmas. We looked through stacks of letters he wrote to my grandma during WWII. We framed his military portrait, taken when he was a fresh-faced 20 year old, heading off to serve with the merchant marines.
From the pastor’s message to the emotional burial at a barracks with military honors, a certain theme emerged about my grandpa’s life. He was a quiet man who lived a simple life. He wasn’t famous, he didn’t win any awards, and his life was what most would consider ordinary. He joined the military, served proudly, and then came home and started a family. He worked a blue collar job faithfully to provide for his family. He loved his grandchildren well and was a kind, steady presence in my life.
I thought about my grandpa’s life when I came across a post by Lisa Jo Baker, “When You Think Your Love Story Is Boring.” In describing her husband, Baker writes, “He lays down his life and it looks like so many ordinary moments stitched together into the testimony of a good man who comes home to his family in the old minivan, the one with the broken air conditioning. It undoes me every time to look around and find him there, having my back in the day to day and the late night into late night and then next year again.”
As Baker has found, real love is found in the everyday moments. There’s nothing glamorous about emptying the dishwasher or checking the tire pressure or writing the check to the mortgage company. But those little moments reveal a man of steady, faithful character.
And that was the mark of my grandpa’s life. The millions of little moments when he lived his quiet life, faithfully loving my grandma for over 60 years of marriage. He showed up, every day, every year, even when it was hard and even when he didn’t want to.
Maybe no one outside of our family ever knew his name, but his example of faithful service is the legacy he left. In a culture that values fame and fortune, I’m thankful for my grandpa’s quiet life.
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--Sounds like he was a quality man. He loved the Lord, I'm guessing?
--Praise God for your Grandpa's life :) the good man who set great examples of being consistent.
--I was just involved in an encouraging conversation last Sunday with a couple (older, but not old enough to be my folks!) in which the wife began lauding the virtues of a man being ordinary, a portrait seemingly painted quite well by your grandfather, Ashley. Thank you for sharing about him. I often feel burdened to be extraordinary, to be a man who does big things, and that I'll be less if I don't. Thank you for this encouragement.
"But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one." (1 Thess. 4:10b-12) "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...." (Eph. 5:25)
After all, how ordinary is obedience?
--I appreciate this :-) So true.
--May God comfort your family at this time, Ashley. You've written a beautiful tribute to your grandfather.
--What a wonderful memorial and reminder to us all.
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