Monday, October 15, 2012

Highs and Lows

My maternal grandfather, Papaw, passed last Wednesday morning.  And while we rejoiced in God’s grace and know His timing is perfect, it was hard to say goodbye to someone you have known for so long, and who was such a big part of your life, childhood, and who you are. 

He died peacefully, surrounded by family, love, prayers, and tears as he passed from this life into the next. 
We buried him two days later -- after a beautiful celebration of his life and the strong man he was.

Walter J Johnson, Jr.

I find life most exhausting when it is full of highs and lows.  Highs make life wonderful, lows make you appreciate the highs.  But the combination is a little like Meth -- a mixture that leaves your body and mind confused.

The past 10 days have been full of both.
It was a high to celebrate an anniversary.
It was a low to hear the news about my grandfather's health.
It was a high to arrive in time to say goodbye to him.
It was a low to see how the pain had transformed his body.
It was a high to gather in his room with family for hours, sharing stories and memories.
It was a low each time his breathing would stop.
It was a high to know he had joined his beloved wife, my grandmother.
Yet a low to know that meant he had left us here.
It was a high to celebrate my cousin's upcoming wedding.
And a low to see her tears.

Celebrations/sadness, sadness/celebrations -- that was the last week.
And it's that way sometimes, because life goes on, even through the tears.  We are called to find joy in times of sorrow.  We are called to find peace when life doesn't feel peaceful.

Papaw died 18 years to the day that my paternal grandfather passed.
He died 28 years to the day that I was born.
I heard multiple words that day as mom would share it with people --
Some said it was eerie, some said it was sweet. 
I appreciated all of it. 
I've never cared much about my birthday, but to be honest, it was a little "eerie" to me.
What was the significance of it and what was I to make of it?

My parents insisted on having a cake that night.
Mom went fishing in the candle drawer and came out with three -- a red, blue, and pink one.
How perfect.
One for Papa T, one for Papaw, and one for me.

Far more important than any earthly birthday, October 10th is their true day of birth in heaven.   
What an honor to share it with them -- two of the greatest men I will ever have the privilege of knowing.

Two men who raised my parents to be the remarkable people they are.
Two men who sacrificed a lot for their families and their country.
God’s timing is always perfect :)