Monday, August 23, 2010

Granddad's Birthday

I can imagine the scene in heaven today: My granddad, Mark, wakes up realizing that if he were still on earth, he'd be turning 78 today. He walks out the front door of his heavenly home (which I like to think is a flat-roof, oddly-angled, creative dwelling like the ones he designed on earth), and into the cool morning. He walks through a meadow perhaps, or along the road into the city. He's thinking perhaps about how he gave his birthday away, presented it to my sister Kelsey in the form of a notarized document stating that he had had enough birthdays. But regardless of that gift, he knows that he'll still get a heavenly birthday party today. His friends--ones he knew on earth and ones he's gotten to know in heaven--join him in a celebration. They thank Jesus for giving him life, and then for giving him new life in Him. Heavenly celebrations, after all, are really about Jesus. Then they eat some really good cake.

My granddad was an incredible grandfather. He loved Jesus with his whole heart. I remember when we'd gather as a family to pray over our meals. We'd stand in the sticky heat under the fans on the porch. Dinner on the table, complete with the ever-present carrot sticks in water, applesauce, and bread and butter would wait as he'd lead us in prayer. He always started with "Praise You, Jesus, hallelujah." Granddad left a spiritual legacy to his children, his grandchildren, and even the great-grandchildren that he has not yet met. His children are walking in the truth (3 John 4), following his example.

Granddad has eight children, thirty grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren (although one still lives in Rwanda). My son Iain, the first of the great-grandchildren, has Granddad's name as his middle name: Mark. Cory has his eyebrows (as do I: pointy on the outside edge). I am sure my daughter will have something in common with him, too, since God knew before He even created Granddad that this little Rwandan girl would join his family line.

We have this video of Granddad singing. One of my uncles recorded it as a Christmas present for another of my uncles (did they know what a treasure this would be?). Granddad is sitting in his customary spot in the living room, on the hearth in front of the fireplace. He is playing his guitar and singing all the family favorites: Big Rock Candy Mountain, The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night, Sweet Violets, Casey Jones. He sings cleaned-up versions of the more...bawdy songs (something we never knew until we heard his brother singing the "real" version one time). The boys love these songs; they sing along with the buuuuuuzzzzzzzzzing of the bees. I treasure this video because it captures the rich voice of my grandfather singing as he loved (loves) to do. He sings playfully through most of the songs, but on Bless This House, he really lets his voice soar and it's beautiful. I'm glad my boys can hear and see him on the video. I miss hearing him sing.

I am incredibly thankful and blessed that this man was my grandfather. I wish Jeremy could have met him this side of heaven. Enjoy your birthday cake, Granddaddy! We miss you and we love you. Happy birthday!


Phyllis said...

You made me tear up. I loved him, too, and he wasn't even my own grandfather!

girl with no name. said...

This is so cute.
Your grandfather seems like a really good man.
I loved reading this, it's beautiful.

Nona said...

He would have been humbled and blessed by this, Allie.