Words to Remember My Grandfather

I’m six years old, and I can’t sit still. I’m so excited because it’s Grandparents’ Day, and my grandparents are coming to visit my class. When Grandpa walks in, I pull him and Grandma over to my desk. I listen impatiently as the other
grandparents talk about their lives, and then finally, my teacher asks my grandpa to speak. He tells us the tale of his adventures fighting in World War II and then coming to America.

This is the day I discover his fearlessness.

Fast forward a few years. I’m now a teenager, and it’s summer vacation. I’m watching a talk show with my grandpa. He turns to me. “Christina,” he says. “What does this mean?” He struggles to pronounce a word the TV talk show host just said.
Grandpa already has his dictionary out, and he’s written the word in a notebook. I’m in awe when I realize the whole notebook is filled with words. “Grandpa,” I say, “What is all of this?” He tells me he writes down all the English words he doesn’t know so
he can learn and remember them.

This is the day I learn of his determination.

Every birthday. Every recital. Every wedding and anniversary. In the sunshine and in the light. Grandpa is there to celebrate with us. Through the storms, through the darkness and the shadows. Grandpa is there to help and to guide us. Time
passes, seasons come and go.

These are the years we—his family, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren—experience his faithfulness.

Fearless. Determined. Faithful. Three words that describe who my grandpa was and how he lived his life.

Last week, the night before Grandpa passed away, I stood before the glittering sea. A towering lighthouse rose tall in the sky, overlooking the ocean. As I looked at that lighthouse, a breeze picked up, and I suddenly found myself thinking
about Grandpa. I felt his spirit there.

I saw him in the picturesque scene that lay before me. He was there in the ships sailing towards the harbor. And he was there in the strong tower that kept watch upon the red-sanded shore.

Determined like the ships, Grandpa was relentless and persistent in navigating towards his dream, the American Dream. Determined to overcome all obstacles, to rise above the violent waters and the voices that told him he couldn’t. Fearless
like the sailors, not completely without fear, but taking action despite the turbulent waves and the ominous storms of life. Faithful like the lighthouse, a beacon in the dark night to guide ships to safety. Grandpa was a faithful father and grandfather to
our family.

And faithful, too, like the keeper of the lighthouse, whose duty was to turn on the light each night without fail, through the wind and the rain and the snow. Grandpa kept his light burning bright as an example to us all so that we in our
individual ships might steer in the right direction, away from danger.

Just as the sailors followed and trusted the lighthouse to direct them away from dangerous waters, Grandpa followed and trusted God’s voice to help him overcome all life’s perils and into the safety of the harbor.

Fearlessly. Faithfully. And with full determination. This was the testimony of my grandfather’s life, and now God has called his ship home. I’ll end with a quote from one of my favorite authors. “Out on that shining tide his spirit drifted,
over the sunrise sea of pearl and silver…beyond the storms and calms.”

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