My grandpa’s favorite song was Ain’t No Grave. They played it at his funeral. I loved my grandpa; of everyone I’ve ever known, he had the most spiritual influence on my life. He worked and preached. My mom and uncle got saved because of him. I had a lot of questions growing up, and he answered them without judgment. He showed me the truth and pulled out the Bible to support it.
As a kid, I loved spending time with him. He bought me my first guitar and taught me how to play. I remember him writing songs, and singing old country gospel music. He had this old recorder and recorded us playing together. Occasionally, I’d show him my rock and roll tracks (traumatized him probably), but he never judged.
I grew up in what people would call a sleepy town. Everyone knew everybody. People helped other people and focused on living a simple life. As a kid, I had scrapped knees and rode bicycles. One time, my mom made me get out of the car to mow a stranger’s lawn because an older lady in her 70s was cutting grass. I didn’t like it at the time, but looking back, I am glad my mom made me do it. She showed me how to live based on your values. I’ve since left there, but I bring that vibe with me -a sense of home.
Watching my grandpa’s health deteriorate was one of the toughest times in my life. He had a stroke followed by a long year of surgeries and hospital visits. Before the stroke, he never needed any help and was always the one to support others. After the stroke, he was in a wheelchair and couldn’t get out of bed by himself. It was hard because I couldn’t take away the pain of him losing his pride, and the shame he felt in having to ask for help. I hurt for him. I wanted to carry his burden but couldn’t.
I am glad he saw me being saved before he had the stroke. He got in the pool with me during my baptism and prayed over me. I told him someday I plan to raise my family modeled after him. I know it meant a lot to him. Regardless of how busy life got, my grandpa always remembered the smallest things matter the most. Be kind and caring to others. Be happy with your current situation; never let life take away your happiness. And when you are doing something you love; never worry about other peoples’ opinions.
Now it’s very hard to imagine not living as Christian. I am terrified to think about the kind of person I would be if I weren’t saved. I still get angry, and I am not the person I should be, but I have Him. When I have children of my own, I will teach them always rely on God, never rely on your feelings. Your feelings change, but God’s words stay the same.