Life is backwards (I miss my Grandpa)

Life feels Backwards

Not too long ago I went to visit my grandfather in the nursing home.  There he sat, staring almost through me, Alzheimer’s slowly eroding away even the limited memory he had left.  I spoke up; “Grandpa, it’s me, Michael” He just looked at me with a vacant stare.  I am not totally sure I connected with him at all.  It is hard to believe that he was once Dr. Colaw, a brilliant influential leader.  He even had a building named after him at a university.  I have numerous memories of conversations with him in his home talking about the purpose of life, leadership strategies, even how to deal with situations that just deeply frustrated me.  There I sat gazing into the same face, yet it didn’t seem like the same man.  Grandpa finally passed away on July 18 2012.

I miss my grandpa. 

Sometimes I wonder why God lets that happen.  Not just the Alzheimer’s, the whole system.  Sometimes I feel like life is backwards.  Let me see if I can explain.  Like I said, Grandpa was intelligent, a great leader, a sought after speaker, and an amazing mentor to me.  All of his life experiences helped shape him into a remarkable man.  Have you ever noticed people that finally begin to “get” their roles are at retirement age?  Or that parents who finally begin to “get” how to raise kids are finished parenting?  Or professors who finally become amazing teachers are at the end of their career?  What about people who are masters at specific trades, like a craftsman?  They spend years mastering something like woodworking and then their body gives out and arthritis kicks in.  Why?  Why is this the way life works?  I know as a young man I have often been handed tasks a little life experience would have helped drastically with.  Like parenting, leadership, or even marriage.  We all have to start these with little or no experience and figure it all out from the beginning.  Why is it that the best in their fields are often the ones nearing the end?  Why is it those who have filled their experience and intellectual reservoir are forced to let go?  It just seems backwards.

Unless the purpose is to be a conduit and not a reservoir… What if it is all about passing something along?  What are you passing along?  Who is pouring into you?

Romans 5:3-5, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

As I look back now I see what Grandpa was doing.  Brilliant Dr. Colaw was infusing me with a time transcendent hope.  ‘Hope in what?’ you may ask.  Find a Bible and read the rest of Romans 5.

7 thoughts on “Life is backwards (I miss my Grandpa)

  1. Mke, so sorry to hear of your loss. Praise God he was a godly man so you know you will see him again. Therefore though we grieve we do not grieve as one with no hope. My prayers and thoughts with you and your family.

  2. WOW, what a way to put it! You are right Mike, we are all empty vessels, God fills it and in turn we are to use what God gives us to bless others; it is our gift from God to use for the growth of His Kingdom…
    Donald and I rejoice for the new life Christ has given your grandpa, but our heart crys for you and your family for the physical loss you are going through…It’s a bitter sweet emotion…We love you guys!

  3. Mike – you are so right and many of us will deeply miss this wonderful man who touched our hearts, souls and minds with his dedication to life, loving others and above all God! He was truly a man to look up to and learn from. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories. Love and prayers to all the family.

  4. Mike,isn’t it wonderful to think of Grandpa now in heaven? Everything is right for him now. He’s with Jesus, Grandma, my Mom, Aunt Venita, and so many other loved ones who are in heaven. He really was an amazing man~a great vessel God has used to teach us. He left an amazing legacy, for which I am so grateful.

    You’re a great communicator, Mike.

  5. God infuses those cast aside by society. His grace and wonder shine and sparkle the most brilliantly in those with no glory of their own. Your grandpa’s legacy touches many of us who never knew him, through you– the stories you tell of him and the Truth and Wisdom he taught you.

    And God delights, I think, to flip our understanding upside down and backwards. His Kingdom embraces the last, and His ways are not our ways. Good thing, because my ways would get us in a heap of trouble!

    Blessings and hugs to you all.

  6. Hey Mike:
    Well said. Your Grandpa was a great man. He was my DS for 25 years. I was with him for 21 years on the District Board. He was my mentor. Grace and I loved having CB and Mabel stay at our home. The kids loved them too. We were in Canada at our Grandson’s wedding. Felt bad to miss the funeral. Glad he has been released and is in heaven having a time of his life. God bless you.

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