All Posts Tagged ‘grandparents

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We will remember them

This is my Grandfather as a young man. I knew him as ‘Grandad’, my Mum called him ‘Dad’ and his friends called him Ron. He had a lot of friends.

To my shame I don’t know very much about my Grandad as a soldier, he was very young when he enlisted in the army at the start of World War II, so young he had to lie about his age. I know he fought in North Africa, Egypt, El Alamein, and Italy.

He told me a little about the battle for Monte Cassino, how they got cut off from retreating until an American destroyer almost dropped a shell right on top of his patrol, taking out the German troops so the Kiwis ‘ran like hell’ to escape.

He described how they slept leaning against the wheels of trucks because they didn’t have a chance to make camp.

But what I remember most about Grandad is his smile, his enjoyment of life and his generosity. Packing eight grandchildren into his little red car to take us ice skating. He loved gardening, and us kids loved playing in his garden. He always seemed happy to see us, and always had a loyal dog following him around.

The grandfather I loved was a peaceful man living a quiet life. It is hard to comprehend that as the young man in the photo above he fought terrible battles on the other side of the world to stop an evil that still horrifies us 66 years later.

As our nation remembers all who served our country this ANZAC day, I think of my Granddad who survived it all and lived to fill us all with love and joy. He probably never thought he would survive, let alone become a grandfather, but I’m so very thankful he did.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

(From “For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon.)

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, (Philippians 1:3-4 ESV)

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Thank you Ann

Dear Ann,Thank you for your beautiful words. I first began reading your blog (A Holy Experience) in the middle of last year and was captivated by the honest, encouraging and inspiring words you write there. Today your book (One Thousand Gifts) arrived at my door all the way from America and again I am lifted up by your words.

As I have been keeping my own list of gifts given by God, things I am thanking Him for, I also have asked:

“I think how God-glory in a cheese ring might seem trifling. Even offensive, to focus the lens of a heart on the minute, in a world mangled and maimed and desperately empty.”

I have asked the question many times, wondered also if my own list is trite and offensive to those who have so much less than I, who by circumstance of birthplace are ravaged by poverty, exploitation, war or persecution. My answers have been non-answers, feeling guilty, wondering if I should be asking for suffering in order to be a true disciple? I was not ready for the wisdom of your next paragraph:

“I know there is poor and hideous suffering, and I’ve seen the hungry and the guns go to war. I have lived pain, and my life can tell: I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives. Why would the world need more anger, more outrage? How does it serve the world to reject unabashed joy when it is joy that saves us? Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn’t rescue the suffering. The converse does. The brave who focus on all things good and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.” (p58)

I am such a novice in gratitude and thanksgiving, I am taking small steps unsure where the path is going but seeing enough signs along the way of the leading of Christ that I know He wants me to walk in this.

Interestingly, only yesterday I was considering my gratitude list and what it is about. I realized that in participating in a community of people all recording similar lists of thanksgiving it is easy to slip into something of a numbers game and seek simply to lengthen my list out of pride rather than true thankfulness and rejoicing in Christ. On the other hand, I am sure that items make it onto my list for which I am truly thankful but have others utterly mystified as to what I even mean, let alone why I’d be thankful for them. Then there are all the things which I thank God for deeply and a few words on a numbered list simply cannot capture the depth of gratitude and dependence of hope which hang upon them.

Therefore I am going to reduce my concern over how many items are on my list and go for depth. My list may grow more slowly but hopefully my soul will grow more deeply. I want to ponder why I am thankful as well as what I am thankful for. I want to make it more explicit to myself at least that these ‘little’ things I thank God for are given by Him for my joy – a concept that my heart is reluctant to hold onto.

Gifts I have noticed this week (#238 – #240):

238) My eldest daughter asking so many questions about God, the Trinity, how the Holy Spirit helps us, and what limits have been placed upon Satan. I feel inadequate attempting to answer her questions – I think I understand in my head but it comes out all garbled when trying to express the ideas to a nine-year-old. Yet it is so encouraging that she is curious, is concerned and knows that Jesus is all-mighty. It helps me read the Bible with new eyes to be reading it to a child who is eagerly trying to figure out who and how God is. Most of all I am greatly encouraged that she is thinking all this through for herself rather than just believing what she is told in order to keep her parents happy.

239) Encouragement to continue counting gifts.

240) Grandma and Poppa reading bedtime stories: