Often, wisdom is taught more through silence rather than words. Such was the case with Grandpa. He was soft spoken and thought carefully on the words that came out of his mouth. He set an example for his grandchildren in every facet of his life. He and Grandma always said, if there is one thing we want for you it's that you love the Lord. And they lived this out.
When you stayed overnight and Grandma and Grandpa's you knew what to expect in the morning. Cream of Wheat. And Our Daily Bread. He would read from that every morning, it was part of his consistency. Something not fully appreciated at the time by a young boy who could give them all the energy they could handle.
Of the hundreds of words I could choose to describe Grandpa the one I would use to represent them all is patient. As a child, when Grandpa would pray for a meal, you thought it possible to starve before he was finished. As an adult, it only exemplified his patience and desire to serve God and to be that example to his family.
He had a work ethic foreign to this generation. But he knew how to take time to talk with a friend. He would teach you to drive the tractor or stack hay and he never thought you took too long. After digging post holes I couldn't understand why he spent 30 minutes scraping the dirt off the post hole digger and shovel with a knife. Aren't you going to use that again tomorrow? I'm quite certain he only ever owned one shovel. He had no problem doing the tedious work. You would never find a stray rock or dandelion in his yard.
He was a fighter. His silent strength kept him going long after his body wanted to quit and he pushed through. He loved Grandma, that was always clear to me even when I wasn't aware of it. Over 62 years they were married. That's 22,807 days. 547,368 hours. 32,842,080 minutes. And I can tell you as sure as I'm standing here he loved her more every day of his life.
Not long ago, they were at a doctor appointment for Grandma. Grandpa had to kneel down and tie her shoe. He said, with that smile we all know so well, "While I'm down here I may as well ask you, will you marry me?" Beaming, Grandma replied, "I'm sorry, I'm already married to a good man."
I am fortunate to have had such a man as my Grandfather in my life. He is one of the greatest men to have ever lived, and part of what makes that true is that if he were here he would disagree with me.
As Paul said in his second letter to the Corinthians, "We know that when the tent which houses us here on earth is torn down, we have a permanent building from God, a building not made by human hands, to house us in heaven."