I recently loaded up my kids and went to visit my grandmother. She gets tired pretty easily, so we don't ever stay a long time, but it was a sweet visit. All the children took turns sharing their latest accomplishments with her, we ate together, and we heard a few more stories from the treasure box of her memories.
And somewhere in there, I slipped away to my Papaw's study to do what I always do when I visit. I plucked one of his notebooks off the shelf and read through it for a moment.
My grandfather was a preacher. My earliest memories of him involve pulpits and Vacation Bible Schools, where he would let the children who brought guests snip a piece off his necktie. I loved visiting him at the church, getting candy from his secretary and even more candy from the janitor. I loved that he was always willing to travel good distances to witness the important events in my life, always being the one who gave the biggest hug and told me how proud he was of me.
I was the oldest grandchild in the family and the first to marry. It was Papaw who conducted our ceremony, and it was Papaw who sat us down for pre-marital counseling. I remember blushing furiously when my aging grandfather talked about the honeymoon with me and my future groom, but I have always been grateful for the wonderful foundation he helped us build in so many facets of our communication with each other.
I had only been married two short months when Papaw had a stroke. He would eventually recover completely physically, but would never fully recover in his ability to speak. For the next ten years, it would be a struggle to communicate with him. He was always able to convey love, but gone were the eloquent sermons, the heart to heart conversations, and the huge words he loved to use.
And then he was gone. Suddenly, and without a chance for many of us to say goodbye.
And that's why I love to slip away into his study and pick up a notebook. There are quite a few to choose from because he was a preacher in the days before computers. His sermon files aren't on a hard drive. They're all in notebooks, on the top shelf of the study.
A lifetime of sermons. A treasure of words.
When I read his writings, mostly typed, but with many handwritten notes in the margins, I can listen to his voice again. I can hear a heart that loved his God. I can recall his wisdom, the kind that's earned the hard way. I can remember his love for me.
And this last time, as I held a notebook entitled "Philippians" in my hand, I wondered what my legacy would be. What treasure do my notebooks hold? What am I leaving for those who come after me to remember and ponder?
My life is telling a story. I pray it's as beautiful as the one on the top shelf.
THE GREAT PURSUIT
9 months ago