Tuesday, April 24, 2007

But when I get where I'm going......

A lot of my greatest childhood memories involve my grandparents. I was really young when my dad's parents passed away but I have a lot of memories about my mom's parents. It never failed, they always paid more for grasscutting and car washing than it was really worth. We always got a $5 bill for our birthdays and there was always chocolate and divinity made around Christmas.
Pawpaw, was in to everything that he thought he could make money at. Before I was even thought of, I am told he raised cattle and new every one by name. In my lifetime, he sold vegetables, got into bee keeping and sold honey. Anything I think he could do, he did.
He had 2 rooms in his barn with old bicycles that he had repaired and restored in hopes of selling them. It was heaven to my brother and me as every time we went there, we could ride a different bike.
His shop probably looked like a disaster to you and me but I know that he knew where everything was. He had table saws, sanders, jars of nuts and bolts, bike parts, unfinished bee hives, unfinished projects all over.
My grandmother on the other hand, worked in the lunchroom at Ashville High School where my mom, aunt and uncle went to school. She worked there until she retired.
We helped them out with their gardens almost every summer. I picked up more potatoes and I helped load more bushel baskets of peas in my childhood than I care to remember. I don't know what I hated worse, picking up potatoes or "churnin' kraut." One of the coolest things they ever did was to buy a pea sheller. That made work seem like a little more fun.
I can remember spending weekends with them. Anything I wanted to eat, my grandmother fixed. At night, my grandfather would sit on the poarch and yell, in friendly conversation, to his neighbor across the street. My grandmother and I would sit in the living room watching baseball until bedtime. They didnt have an air conditioner, they had a whole house fan. At night you would sleep with the fan running and the windows open and even in July and August, you might have to pull up the quilt to keep warm.
Regardless of what we did, my brother and I always got paid to do it and we always got paid more than what it was worth. Sure it was only $5 or $10 but to a kid that was a mint.
What they did for a living isn't what is important about them the most. How they lived their lives is. My grandfather as long as I knew him, never went to church, but I know he believed in God because he would never do any business on Sunday. He respected God and the Lord's day because Sundays were for family and it never failed, either they came to our house or we went to theirs almost every Sunday. They raised my mom, aunt and uncle in a Christian home and now all of them are great Christians themselves.
My grandfather died when I was around 13. He was at the hospital having surgery and that morning we went to see him. I remember sitting in that lobby well past the time we could go see him but couldnt because their was a problem with one of the patients. That patient was him. He had passed away and went on to be with God.
My grandmother carried on for many more years until she passed away when I was in my mid 20's. She had lived out her last few years in a nursing home and I barely recognized her at all. She had lived a long life and passed away with all her children around her. I lived not far from the nursing home and was the only grandchild there with her, when she too, went on to be with God.
Both of my grandparents funerals were at the church close to their home and both had one thing in common. Both were absolutely packed more than any funeral that I have ever been to. There were more friends of theirs, friends of my family and my extended family than anything that I had ever been a part of. They were truely the most successfull people that I have ever known.
This weekend, I cleaned up my basement a little and found an old photo album that I had not looked at in years. In that album, I found a picture of my grandmother that I had seen before, but I never noticed my grandfather in the background. I just sat there at looked at it for a long time. I had not realized how much I miss them in a long while. Little reminders of those gone before us are really awesome gifts of God. It was great to remember them once again......

"I'm gonna walk with my grandaddy,
and he'll match me step for step,
and I'll tell him how I missed him,
every minute since he left.
Then I'll hug his neck.

Yeah when I get where I'm going,
there'll be only happy tears.
I will shed the sins and struggles,
I have carried all these years.
And I'll leave my heart wide open,
I will love and have no fear.
Yeah when I get where I'm going,
Don't cry for me down here." - Brad Paisley, "When I get where I'm Going"

Dear God,
Thank you for memories. Memories of people in our lives who made a difference. People we loved and cared for and who loved and cared for us back. People in our lives who have gone on ahead to help pave the way for us. People that I will see again soon.

Say hello to my grandparents!

Keith

Monday, April 02, 2007

"Has anyone seen my screwdriver?"

Yesterday, I replaced the light bulbs in the garage door opener on Stephanie's side of the garage. A seemingly simple task I know but it is actually more involved that it sounds. First, you can't reach the light on just a simple stool, you must get out the ladder. Then, you cant just twist simple screws to remove the cover, you have to use a screwdriver. Not just any screwdriver will do, but a long screwdriver because of the location of the single screw that holds the cover on.

So, I got out my ladder and my cordless screwdriver with not one, but 2 long extenstions. I was good to go. I had 2 bulbs close by, I was ready. How wrong I was.....

I got the cover off no problem but the bulbs that I had were wrong. I needed 2 40 watt bulbs instead of the 75 watt bulbs that I had. This meant a trip to some store somewhere to pick up bulbs.

After a trip to Eckerds to drop off film and get bulbs, I was back at it. Up the ladder I went and replaced the bulbs no problem. In the meantime, I had knocked off my cordless screwdriver and it fell to the floor. At the time I didnt think about it but the screwdriver tip had come out of the extension and was now not found anywhere. I crawled around on the floor looking for it for about 15 minutes before I gave up and got another tip.

Finally, the bulbs were replaced and the cover was put back in place, my tools were put away and I was done.

At this point, you are probably wondering why in the world this would be worthy enough to even think about posting here on my blog. 2 reasons that I was reminded of this weekend:

1 - Nothing is ever as easy as it may seem. First you may have to get out of your comfort zone, you need the right tools for the job and it may involve going somewhere. Working on a ladder is not my idea of fun. Sure it was only a 6 foot ladder but working near the top still isn't like having your feet on the ground. Next, I couldnt use just any screwdriver. I had to have one with a long reach or use extensions like I did. Finally, I had to make a trip to get the right parts when I thought that I had them. What seemed to be a 5 minute project turned into an hour.

2 - Searching for the srewdriver tip reminded me of the story in the bible where the sheep hearder left the flock to search for the one lost sheep. Sure, I had other tools that would have worked but I stopped what I was doing and looked for that one lost tool. Just like the sheep hearder.

I grew up around tools. Dad had a toolbox full of them. Screwdrivers were on one side with standard wrenches with metric wrenches on the other. The lid had a sticker on the inside of it and it was dirty and rusted. It was your typical tool box. My brother and I were always using Dad's tools. And of course, losing them. He had his garage and we had an old barn out back where we took apart our bikes, motorcycles, go carts, etc. Somehow between the garage and the barn, numerous tools were lost. Some I lost. Some he lost. Somehow he always got blamed for losing them. I think they got lost because we gave up and never really looked for them anywhere but in dad's tool box.

Fortunately for us, we aren't tools in God's eyes, We are his children. He will never give up on us not matter how lost we are.

For years I have asked the question 'What is God waiting on?" We have made such a huge mess of the world we live in I never could imagine why Christ hasn't returned. Last sunday it was answered for me. God is waiting for that one last person to come to Him. He is still looking for that "lost tool." God loves us all, regardless of our past, and doesn't want anyone to miss out on eternal life with Him.

Today, my brother has more tools that me and my dad combined. Of course, he and I still borrow tools from dad from time to time but now we have our own tool boxes. His is a new craftsman that he and I both got for Christmas this year.

Mine, still has that sticker in the lid and a little rust around the edges from years gone by and I wouldn't give up dad's old toolbox for anything. It just means I need more tools to put in the new box.......

Dear God,
Thank you so much for Your patience. Regardless of how much of a mess we have made with our world today, how much a mess we have made of our individual lives, You are patient and consistant. You never give up on us. You welcome us back each time that we lose our way and point us in the direction that we need to go. Help us to be patient until Your work here is done and you take us home.

Keith