The Grandpa bowl. When my Dad died he did not have a lot of material possessions, but he had two of these bowls. These bowls have always brought me joy and sweet memories. When I am feeling “ under the weather” and need some comfort I pour some hot soup into my bowl, sit and reflect and always walk away feeling better.
Quite a few years back a good friend found 4 of the Grandpa bowls in an antique store so she gifted them to me. I gave one to each of my adult children and pray when they look at them they remember the goodness of their Grandpa. For many years my children and I were deprived of his presence in our lives and while I can never bring back the years the enemy stole I can thank God for reconciliation and healing. I am thankful for the love, laughter and the memories we created before God called him home.
My Dad lives on in so many ways. There are days the memories come in waves...memories of him spending hours on end with me; memories of me sitting on the Padnaram Bridge drawing while he fished; him making eggs and French fries for me and there always being a Hostess treat at the end of lunch! His love for Westerns!
He was a Dad with “ mother qualities” ...he nurtured me and taught me to put others before myself. I see him in my daughter as she has a generous and kind heart... I see him in my middle son’s build, in his eyes and in his inherited love for fishing. I see him in my oldest sons humor and his love of baseball.
I think so often in life we don’t appreciate who and what we have in our lives until it is too late. I believe God has a purpose for every thing that happens in our lives, the sweet as well as the painful. I can walk in His faithfulness and trust He knows His plans for me and for you. He uses all of it to shape our lives so we can reflect His love to others.
The greatest legacy my Dad left is one of love. He loved us well. He taught us by example to persevere and to stand up for what we know is right. He taught us that obstacles can be overcome and always reach out to others. He taught us that even though our own problems seem large, there are others who are much worse off. I remember once saying, “Dad, I am so sorry you had to have both your legs amputated”...his response, “yes, but I thank God I haven’t lost my eyesight like Bruce because that would mean I wouldn’t be able to see you and my grandchildren.”
When he moved into our home he didn’t bring many worldly possessions, but he brought us love. He brought his spirit of determination, his sense of humor, his concern for others, and the belief that we can all find our way home... there is always forgiveness. He never failed to show appreciation to his immigrant parent, for their love and the sacrifices they made.
As I sit here today I think that faith, moral values, honesty, respect, love, trust, dignity, character (none of which can be seen with our eyes or held in our hands) are the true realities of our lives. Their true realness can be seen in their power to mold us when we choose to embrace them. And it may just as surely be seen from the emptiness that will result when we choose to scorn them.
My Dad did not go to church very often but I know He believed God was in control of our lives and always went to His Heavenly Father in prayer.When I was a little girl he used to tell me that God sat up in heaven with a great big book and our names were written in it and God knew how our story from start to finish. He didn’t need a seminary education to understand that God is the author of our stories.
I read this quote awhile back which I think is appropriate on this day we celebrate freedom: “we can’t go to God with our options and expect Him to choose one of our preferences. We need to go to Him with empty hands, no hidden agendas, no crosses fingers. We need to go to Him with willingness in our hearts to do whatever He asks. There is FREEDOM in being obedient to Him.
I don’t believe my Dad ever went to God with his options, He went with empty hands and a willingness in his heart to do whatever His Maker required of him. He was a man whose heart reflected his Heavenly Father’s unconditional love. He went with his empty bowl...knowing God would fill it with abundant blessings!