We have the most amazing gift of having my 92 year old grandfather living near us. In my idealistic ways, before he moved across country to live near my mom and the rest of our family here, I imagined we would see him all the time. And we did at first, it was easier a year or 18 months ago. He could join us for church and then we could go out to eat after. Then it became more challenging to work out visits. Alzheimer’s is a thief of the mind and the daily work of simply existing is getting harder for him. So we go to him. After church. And eat the same cheeseburgers and have the same sweet conversation. And we love him. So much our hearts might burst. He says a few things the same every time and they are every bit as precious, every single week….
Just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re doing such a good job with all those kids. I don’t know how you do it. You just keep doing it…
In response to me walking in the door and asking how he’s doing today…
Well I’m a whole lot better now that you are here.
He tells me he’s going downhill. The loss of mental sharpness when you’ve dined at the White House and been a powerful man most your life in Washington DC is felt keenly, daily, no doubt. And I tell him no matter where he is on the hill we love him. He tells me he’s not making much of a contribution right now, this from a man who has made incredible contributions in policical arenas as well as leaving a rich legacy of faith to our whole family. I tell him his life well lived is contribution enough and that we’re blessed to get to sit with him. He prays the same prayer every Sunday lunch, always ending with “Lord use us in your service”.
The kids just smile when they answer the same question four times in one lunch about what grade they are in. They are learning this kind of love that we seem to forget in this busy land of ours. A slow loves that says no matter what you are able to accomplish, you are valuable and precious.
He always marvels over how I’m there, always mumbles about how my life is busy and full and how do I find the time. And I answer the same every week:
You make time for what matters the most Grandpa – and you matter to me.
If there is any life changing take away from our sudden loss incurred five years ago, when Chris’ dad didn’t return alive from his hunting trip one January weekend, its that our tomorrow isn’t promised to us. We have today to make choices that reflect our values. We have this one life to spend how we want. Only one. So we spend our Sundays and they are worth more than gold.