Jesus with Skin On!

       Grandparents Across a Field 

When I was growing up my grandparents lived just across a field that separated our home from theirs and our respective farms. I did not realize at the time that I was deeply affected by the relationship and gained a huge amount of wisdom from the proximity to those two people.Both certainly demonstrated love by including my brothers and myself in their lives. Involvement included all parts of their lives. We were expected to attend church as a family and even to clean the chicken house as part of our family obligation( a job I hated).

           Life Experience

  I would spend hours with my grandpa watching him live life and having him pour his life experience into mine. We discussed all phases of life. We talked about our faith and how it was important to our everyday we lived. We discussed farming and how important it was to the nurturing of our country. Grandpa even approached the subject of marriage and children. In my teens, I was deeply touched by every word about something that seemed so far in the future. My father died when I was a teenager and the void of his presence had a lasting impression on me, my brothers, and our mother. Grandpa never stopped being available for those chats and I soon realized I could ask him anything. He never seemed to be affected by my questions, although I now realize he was probably shocked when I asked some prying questions about his dating background and how he handled people he didn’t agree with. It was apparent that he didn’t mind telling me the truth, but he did warn a couple of times that it would be good if the information stayed between he and I. I honored that wish without fail.

          Jesus with Skin On

  This article is now being written because I am a grandpa myself. We have grandchildren ranging in age from 23 down to seven. It would be good to have the wisdom of my grandfather present when those kids ask me for advice (although in modern  times due to geographical separtion  there are few requests). I want to give all the counseI I can and bridge that age divide that I felt at times with grandpa. It made for more open conversation, even when I embarrassed him or myself with questions.  

One of the most impressive conversations I had with grandpa was when Vickie (my wife) and I drove to Indiana in route to my assignment in Vietnam. Very few in my family had been to war and I was going as a pilot in a job that had a bad record for losses. He asked me if I was scared and I answered him honestly with a sheepish, “yes”. He got up from the swing on his front porch, went into the house, and came back carrying his bible. He read a verse to me and told me to memorize the verse. It was Deuteronomy 31:6 and it says, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid because the Lord your God, goes with you. He will not leave you or abandon you, even in the face of your enemy.”

            Grandpa’s advice and that verse have never stopped going with me into every phase of life. I wish he was here for me to thank him for his time, his wisdom, and his love. To me he was Jesus with skin on .