I think grandchildren have a special vantage point. By the time we meet our grandparents, they’ve probably made most of their mistakes and learned most of their lessons. Their secret journey, unobserved by others, has imperceptibly carved itself into their faces. When a little child looks at grandpa she knows who he is…maybe in her innocence she even catches of a glance of his eternal face.
I also think that there are lives that are so whole that when they end, you realize they’ve told the story of all of our lives. Alvin, my grandfather, had that kind of life. As I knew him, he was handsome and debonair and defiant; and he had his own brand of funny. If you listened to him you found he was a deep thinker with a penetrating and progressive mind. He felt deeply, we all knew that, even though we respected the veil he often tried to put over his feelings. Most amazing of all to me, he didn’t seem the sort of person who simply let life happen to him. He was always an actor in it. We all know about the amazing amount of knowledge he discovered in the last ten years of his life alone.
Grandpa always loved good things. And I think for me that defines him most…he was someone who adored goodness. He founded a thriving, happy family, and he married a lovely, accomplished lady. He loved the good things of this life; and then when he finally stood on the threshold between worlds, and looked into that life that invisibly penetrates this one, he seemed to see, more clearly than many of us who talk about God all day long, the Good. He saw what was Good. And just as intelligently and eagerly as he embraced living this life, he then embraced the Good of the life to come.
“You can’t stop being Alvin.” That was one of the last things I said to him. And I think for those of us who love him, that might stand for the whole story. For us grandkids, for all who knew him, he’ll never stop being Alvin.
May God rest your soul.
May Angels escort you to your place
May the name of Jesus be ever on your lips
May these eyes that closed in death open upon Life Eternal.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.