When I was a kid my grampa would have us pick over his potato plants for those little black and orange(ish) striped bugs. As I grew older they became less creepy and more fascinating, but that’s beside the point. Picking potato bugs eventually became a game. Whoever found the most was the ultimate winner because gramps would dump out our rusty old cans of bugs on a rusty old barrel and he would count them. For every bug we found he would give a penny. One dollar doesn’t seem like a whole lot now but to find 100 bugs was the greatest of victories then!
When I was in my teens I did a few ride alongs with my grampa on his paperoute. While everyone was sleeping both him and my grandmother delivered newspapers to people wanting to keep up on current events. I used to think they were a bit like Santa Claus because no one saw them when they came and they delivered packages that held goodies: comics and crossword puzzles.
My grampa would wear a sly smirk when he did something just to get a reaction out of my grandmother. He wore blue Dickie pants and suspenders almost every day I saw him. He had a great laugh and he wasn’t a fan of spaghetti. His ‘junk‘ yard full of old cars was the greatest of hiding places and his knowledge of dairy cows would blow your mind.
Sunday my grampa had a stroke and was in the ICU unresponsive for a few days. Yesterday afternoon he stopped breathing.
I will miss his love for counting bugs.
I can’t say my grampa is with Jesus because I don’t that. But I do know his death is teaching me to live. It’s teaching me to live seasons to the fullest because each season brings new color and different light. They bring new people and we celebrate those whom we don’t take into the next season with us. We remember and we forget. We grow up and we remain childlike because who doesn’t like reading the newspaper comics every now and then?
Some seasons are filled with collecting pennies while others are filled with Charlie Brown never learning his lesson: Lucy is NEVER going to let him kick the football. But taking the good along with the bad (collecting potato bugs or falling flat on my face) I choose to live and love and believe, because seasons really are a gift and we get to choose how to live them.
So to those of you who are wrestling with loss (in any capacity), you are being prayed for tonight. Know there is more beyond where you are in this moment. Know healing IS a tangible thing and you are not alone. Know in Jesus name, there is a garden FULL of victories for whatever form of loneliness or pain you are facing in this season.
Tonight at worship practice the team sang, “Your promise still stands, great is Your faithfulness. I’m still in Your hands, this is my confidence.” Walk your current season shouting, living and believing that because God is true to His word. He never leaves and He never fails.
This world isn’t all there is and that truth makes mourning bearable because weeping may last for the night, but JOY comes in the morning.