Even though we grow older, I think there may be part of us that always feels like a child. We mature and gain responsibilities, learn and grow wiser. Our bodies can certainly feel the years before our heart does. Perhaps we become less afraid of things, and more afraid of others (as we realize all the risk in things we did as kids). But one moment, one song, one person can transport us back to our childhood selves. In that instant, we are pulled back in time. Maybe the memory is a gentle tide, lapping at our toes, that takes a few minutes to reach our hearts. Others are like a tidal wave, fully immersing you in the past in a split second.
As we gathered for Po-po’s funeral, I was both slowly reminded of some childhood memories, and overwhelmed by others. Faces I knew but couldn’t quite place, or old pictures I barely remember being taken, my mind was slowly filling with memories. Walking in the funeral home where my Me-ma was 20 years ago, with the same family members (plus a LOT of new additions) was more like a tsunami.
Hearing stories about Me-ma and Po-Po and knowing there would be no more new ones to tell, felt like the door had finally closed on my childhood. I realize I am an adult, (and can’t even remember my own age as I write this) but knowing Po-po is gone feels like the last thread was cut.
There are few things more touching than a military funeral. The level of respect, honor, and dedication shown from those Marines toward my grandpa was unbelievable. I didn’t get to thank them, or even know who they were, but I hope they understand what a service they did for our family.
I say all this, not to fall in to despair, or dwell on what is lost, but to appreciate and grow from these moments. My Po-po was a great man, a man of God, a man of passion, and dedication. Now, I won’t pretend he wasn’t ornery, or that he was perfect. But to me, that is even more encouraging- the fact that God can use us even if we can tease a little too much, or don’t always say the right thing. Po-po shared Jesus with everyone. He was bold, strong, committed. I pray our family can carry that boldness on- that we will not give up, we will fight for what is right. I have my own children now, and they are building a memory bank of stories about their grandparents, and parents, that will hopefully last them a lifetime. I want them to look at us, and to know how to follow Jesus. I pray that as they meet times of sadness and heartache, they can look at our lives and be reassured that He will take care of them.
I’ve often wished that I wasn’t so tenderhearted. I’ve warred with myself over my emotions, and my tendency to be overwhelmed by them. But these are the times, I’ve found, where God speaks to me. These are the times He teaches me, and pierces my (tender) heart. This is when He gives me things to say and share with others. Perhaps, this is one way He uses me. God created my heart, and knows it well. He knows that sometimes the way to reach others, is to see the outpouring of someone else’s heart.
So, for my Po-po, and in honor of his life, I pour out my heart. The last piece of my childhood is finished, but this is not the end. I am sad, but not hopeless, because I know who holds my future. We do not grieve for Po-po, because we know he is with the Lord. I will share the love of Jesus with my children, my family, my friends, and anyone else who will hear, so that one day, we all rejoice with him.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”~ 3 John 1:4