Today's Monday Message happens to fall on my grandfather's 93rd birthday, and first birthday in Heaven, so I would be remiss if I didn't talk about him today.
Regretfully, I was not as close to him as I would have liked. Just the result of geography more than anything. But he was still a powerful figure in my life. He was a man of few words, and a man I sought to impress.
When I was very young, I took a great interest in basketball. My grandparents, products of the Great Depression, thought it somewhat ludicrous that my dad and I were so invested in a silly game. I had lofty goals. I wanted to play Division 1 college basketball. I wanted to play in the Olympics, and I wanted to play professionally, and I was only 7. All grandpa could do was shake his head.
But one day, when we headed out on the 3 hour drive to visit them, my dad packed my basketballs (yes, all three of them). When we got there, he said, "Hey Dad. Erin would like to show you some of the things she's been working on."
With hesitation, but love, grandpa sat down, and I proceeded to put on a ball handling show, worthy of YouTube fanfare of today, in my grandmother's floral, spotless, prim and proper kitchen. One ball, then two, and then three, going all at the same time. My grandpa's eyes were wide, and I will never forget what he said, "Fred, she just might do it."
He was, of course, referring to my lofty goals, but that was it. That's all he said. And that's all I needed. He never again expressed a concern about it. I had gotten the endorsement of one of our toughest critics.
I didn't achieve all of my lofty goals. I played Division 1 college basketball, and got injured. My grandpa never made it to a college game, but he told his friends about me, and when my college team played out in Ohio, near one of them, he told him he should go see me play...and he did.
My grandpa, in his own way, taught me much about the wisdom of listening. His words were few, but direct. I also learned from him, the power in acknowledging when you might be wrong, and the loving effect that has on the people around you.
My grandfather was not a perfect man. In his later years, in several conversations with my dad, he expressed regret over times he was quick to anger or said things he shouldn't have said; moments that (I think) all parents have had. Yet this verse still reminds me of him.
I never knew my grandpa's political leanings or beliefs, and I didn't need to. These days we tend to put a lot of stock into those things, to form our opinion of a person, but he had fought in a war, maintained a loving marriage for over 65 years, raised 5 successful children, and owned and worked at his own business into his 80s. His political opinions couldn't have changed the fact that he was a wise, hard-working man, deserving of respect, even if we had disagreed.
Be slow to speak and slow to become angry with your friends and family. Don't allow their opinions (or yours!) to be a hindrance to your relationship. It shouldn't change the person you know them to be!
As I look at my most worn book of my Bible, at the introduction page, it says that James is a great book to turn to if you are looking for practical ways to live as a Christian. Practical.
The practical and applicable life lessons passed down by my grandfather resonate with me today, as I read these words. And I hope he's having a great birthday.
As a wife, mom of 4, and business owner, finding time to spend in the Word, can be difficult, so I get it! Come join me each Monday for a simple message of hope, faith, and encouragement amidst some honest mommy moments.
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