(I originally began writing this piece as a work assignment.* But somewhere in the writing process it became deeply personal to me and morphed into what I've included here. And I want to share it with you.)
We were gathered for home church at some friends’ home when my dad got the call that his father had passed away. My grandpa had suffered a stroke several days before, and we all knew his remaining breaths were numbered. Dad stepped outside to take the call, and when he reentered the house a few minutes later, his eyes were red with tears that hadn’t yet fallen.
I knew I should say something, do something, feel something. After all, my dad had just lost his father. But I couldn’t shake the seeds of apathy that for years I’d allowed to take root in my heart. My grandpa was a religious man and could probably have quoted more of the King James Bible than anyone I knew. But he was human, and in his humanness, he’d made mistakes, mistakes that hurt people I love. So in this moment when my daddy needed someone to hug him, to hold him and give him permission to cry, I just stood by and stared.
Jalynn, not yet two years old at the time, was with us that evening. She didn’t understand strokes or death. But she did understand the heart of Jesus. So when her grandpa came back into the house, she walked over to him with her arms stretched out. He bent down and picked her up as she wrapped her chubby tan arms tightly around his neck and held on, his silent tears wetting her untamed curls.
Precious Jesus, forgive my own heart. I want to be a little girl again!
(*an edited version of this piece appears in a Tru Wonder Weekly Homefront. Check out Tru at www.tru.davidccook.com.)