First of all, I just want to say that I have the two most amazing grandparents ever. They have always been a model of following Christ and have taught me countless lessons and provided many memories over the years. I want to dedicate a couple of blog posts to them this week. If I stick to what I’ve planned, it’ll mean 4 posts this week, which is way more than I have been able to keep up with recently. But they deserve it and I think that you might just get something out of it too. Or at least I hope you do.
My grandpa is about the funniest man you’ll ever meet. He’s the old guy that goes up to the Winn-Dixie bakery and laughs it up with the ladies behind the counter in order to score a couple of free cookies. “I’d like to take an extra one for my wife. She had surgery you know?” Baker replies, “Did she really? Of course you can!” She hands over an extra one. “Yeah she had it about 30 years ago.” Both laugh.
He’s also the type who walks into a restaurant and immediately starts talking to strangers, generally opening the conversation with, “I used to be a roofer. What kind of work do you do?” and following with, “Man I wish I was still workin’! You know why doncha? I’d be 40 years younger.” *Stranger laughs* He just has an ease with people, a way of making them open up and be friendly. He could charm just about anyone. One day a new member of his church asked the pastor how to tell if my grandpa was kidding (as he had already been “gotten” by him several times that day), and the pastor replied, “Are his lips moving?”
But beyond the playful joker we’ve all loved from day one is a very tender man. Don’t get me wrong. The man is in his 80’s and still chops wood and mows grass. He’s a hard worker and tough as nails. But he has a sensitive heart. He’s very caring and protective of “his girls”. When he and I go on vacation as we sometimes do, he can’t stand to be away from grandma, or “my woman” as he likes to call her, for more than a few days. And he calls her every day several times a day that we’re gone. And when he’s home, he calls me every day too. Sometimes he has something to tell me or ask me, but most of the time, it’s just to say, “I love ya and I was thinking about ya, so I had to call.” Any time I’m unable to answer, I always save the voicemail and occasionally go back and listen to it again.
This to me is an example of how Christ loves us, the Church. Sometimes He speaks through thunderclouds to get our attention for something important; sometimes He whispers in that still small voice to see if we’re really listening to something that could help us. But I think sometimes, He just knocks gently because He wants us to open the door and hear Him say, “I love and I was thinking about you and I just wanted you to know.”
For a while, my grandpa had a habit of calling me early in the morning because he’s an early riser. And sometimes I honestly didn’t want to wake up and answer the phone, so I would let the call go to voicemail and continue sleeping.If it’s important, he’ll call back and then I’ll know I really need to answer it. Don’t we often use that same line of reasoning with God? If it’s important, He’ll make sure He gets through to us. Later, of course, I was plagued by guilt. I would usually call Grandpa back, but sometimes I forgot. As he gets older, I think about how I would actually get along without him. I wonder how things are going to play out in these later years. And I ask myself how could I be wretched enough to ignore this man who has loved me and cared for me and been kind to me my whole life just for another half hour of sleep? I know I can fall back asleep after getting off the phone with him if I need to. So why don’t I just answer the phone?
Why don’t we all just answer the phone? Our time on earth is limited. God has things for us to do and we won’t know what they are if we aren’t building a relationship with Him. Not to mention, if we aren’t walking in step with Him, communing with Him, getting close to Him, we forfeit a lot of peace and joy that He wanted us to have.
One thing I’ve learned since making a resolution to not ignore my grandfather’s phone calls, is that every time I pick up the phone and hear his voice, I feel better. He makes me smile. He makes me laugh. In a lot of ways, he’s my anchor, of our whole family really. When things get too heavy, he lightens the mood. He has always taken the time to make sure I know how much he loves me. And God does the same thing. But if we don’t answer the phone, we’ll never know what He’s trying to tell us. Frankly, I haven’t found a spiritual answering machine yet. So what are you waiting for? Answer the phone. Or better yet, pick up and call Him yourself. He might just be waiting on you.