Everyone who reads this blog, will know by now that I was blessed with two wise women in my life…my Mum and my Grandma. Words of wisdom would flow from them regularly, although at the time I was totally oblivious to the level of my luck. They were better than any Hallmark card and it’s too bad my listening skills were awful and that it took me sooo long to get the message. They really tried, bless their little cotton socks.
But my Grandpa…aah. That was a different story. What he had to tell me was more of a direct hit. He didn’t have words of wisdom per se, he oozed it. I didn’t learn anything from him through the spoken word, he wasn’t much of a talker. In fact I didn’t even know I was learning anything from him at all. It was a sort of osmosis experience. All done through his being; who he was.
My Mum used to tell us that throughout her childhood she never heard him raise his voice, even when she and her brother were in real trouble. And that’s how I remember him. As a kind and gentle soul who helped raise my brother, sister and me for the first four years of my life.
He had extraordinary musical abilities, all self taught, and as a boy he learned to play the piano for his Dad who owned a movie theatre back in the days of silent movies. It took a little longer for the ‘talkies’ to make it all the way to Scotland!
I remember that he played the accordion, the violin and I believe there was a trumpet at times, but Grandma put her foot down on that one. He couldn’t read a note of music but could rattle off any tune you requested. I have no idea to this day how he did that and I wasn’t smart enough to have asked him.
He even played the organ at the local Kirk, the Scottish name for a church, and some evenings he would sit me on the little seat he had on the back of his bicycle and take me with him to practice. I was in heaven. Just being with Grandpa was like being in the presence of some holy someone…it just felt plain good.
I didn’t really think about him being Jesus until The Visit.
I was five and had started school when Grandma and Grandpa came for their annual visit. Grandpa would take a chair and sit outside the front door waiting for my brother and I to get home. And when we did, we’d sit at his feet and he’d tell us stories. Did I mention that he was a great storyteller. I can’t recall if it was his stories that were any good or just that very soft Scottish accent that mesmerized us. But mostly I think it was him, his innate goodness that we just loved to be around.
It didn’t take long before other kids in the neighbourhood came to take a look at what was going on and he would welcome them. Everyone loved my Grandpa. Who wouldn’t? But I didn’t always love that about him. I wanted him all to myself. Well okay, I’d share him with my brother and sister, but anyone else…no way.
The word was out. I came home from school one day to discover a horde of kids, there must have been fifty, sitting at his feet as he regaled them in his soft melodious voice with wonderful stories. They didn’t even see me coming, they were transfixed. And I was JEALOUS. He was my grandpa. He belonged to me.
He must have known how I felt, maybe it was my pout, or that scowl on my face that gave the game away. He took me gently by the hand and sat me on his lap, all the while continuing to tell his tales. That’s when I realized, he must be Jesus. I’d recently learned in Sunday School that Jesus suffered little children to come unto him, just like Grandpa. That was all little children Elle, not just his own grandchildren. That thought put everything right…made it okay that all those other kids wanted to be with him too.
The story of Grandpa is a great reminder that there are times when who we are is more important than what we say. My Grandpa had goodness in every fibre of his being. He was a wonderful, wise and good man.
Okay, I probably haven’t inherited the wonderful and wise gene, but maybe a little of the good? I’d take that. Maybe just a tiny bit…please.
Encourage each other.