|My Grandpa's Favorite|
It wasn't often that I followed my Grandpa around, especially outside because that meant we were going to go to work. It usually meant something to do with the apple trees or strawberry patch or the weeds that skulked underneath. I preferred to follow Grandma because her "work" was more to my liking. Somehow, I thought my grandpa wouldn't expect me to follow him around. It was years later that my mom told me as a kid she followed him around working side by side in all facets of his life. I bet he loved that because she has such a clear picture of the type of man that he was. Now, I wonder what he thought of me avoiding "his work." Introspectively looking back, I hope he didn't think I was avoiding him! Grandma just loved to share while she worked and that appealed to my nature of loving to get to know people. I realized as a grew older that I could learn just as much about a person by watching them as by what they said. Grandpa didn't often say much, and what he said didn't always seem personal. Grandma was much more personal; yet, I realize now that Grandpa's words were the pictures he wanted to share of himself. I wish I could go back and remember the photograph of words that he showed, but I can't remember many of them from when I was in elementary school. Each spring, one "picture frame" of Grandpa emerges with the blooming of peonies. I followed Grandpa three feet out the back door and down the five steps to his small backyard to "work," probably reluctantly. The thoughts he had walking those steps never really mattered to me. Vainly, I imagined he was enjoying the thought of how much work he was going to be able to get out of me. One such hot, sticky day he actually stopped to gaze at these big droopy balls of heavy fluff which as a novice gardener I am sure I thought were roses. He tended to them to help them stand tall. He spoke about them, but for the life of me I cannot remember his words other than they were about the flowers and something about ants. In my young mind, I thought it odd that he would share aloud his thoughts about these flowers because he would certainly have realized that I didn't really care about those flowers. Insight now redeems that moment to allow me to see that he had revealed his tender care to show what brought him joy, peace, and meaning in life. I dismissed his words at the time as idle chatter. Yet, as I gaze in delight each spring at the fleeting peony blooming in my yard, I have reframed that moment to picture the gentle man on the inside that my grandpa shared with me. Each day as I gaze at peonies growing in my own garden, I kindle that memory. For it is most often a reminder from God of my youthful but often current blindess and lack of insight as He explains in 1 Cor. 13:12. that we see as in a mirror in part, but we will understand fully as we have been fully known. Before the final peony droops to the ground, as in salutations to my Grandpa who passed away many years ago, I honor with this photograph of a peony from my garden the man I knew him to be and the wisdom gleaned from his quiet nature.