To Grandad, A Thanksgiving Prayer

It is Thanksgiving Day and someone is calling me by your name. It is your mother and she can’t help it. I remind her of you; actually, I remind everybody of you and I cherish that fact. At the same time though, it hurts.

I miss you, lets get that out of the way at the beginning. I wish that you could be here and see my life and say, “Good job, Caleb!” I wish you could see my beautiful wife and life as she makes an OU joke and you mess with her because she is an OSU fan. I wish that you could play with my dumb dog Frisko. But you can’t.

Your death was something I did not understand. You couldn’t die, you were my Grandad. That is the way life goes though. Life and death and pain and sacrifice and love and suffering all wrapped into one gigantic ball called life; or a Willie Nelson song which I heard you loved so much.

You loom so large over my life, I think about you every day, and you have inspired me to follow God and make jokes and try to be a friend to people who are hard friends to have.

You died for those hard friends to have. You spend fifty years praying for them and then three years dying for them and I love you so much for it but it still hurts the same. Cancer did not have to succeed, the doctor did not have to miss it, and you did not have to forgive that doctor…but you did. God always had a plan for you; whether my little brain would understand or not or whether my adult brain would accept it or not.

It took me until I was eighteen years old to visit you grave. I had chances before but I just could not bring myself to do it. Your death was the first in my life and I did not understand until I visited your grave and thought about how you lived, loved, and died.

The thing is that you took seriously the commandment to take up your cross daily and to follow Jesus. You took is seriously that the greatest way to show love is to give up your life for somebody else. Maybe you did not always think that, as humans tend to stumble, but you knew God had a plan for your life…and your best friends were all brought to Jesus at your funeral. Thank God!

Life is full of so many changes. Life is full of death. That is just the nature of the beast. You transcend that, though. I know that you are waiting for me, my dad, your daughter, my brothers and sisters, my wife. God had a plan for your life and it required your death.  Jesus wept for the dead, but He also said, in John 16:33, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

He has conquered the world and I can go on and be a Godly man who follows in the footsteps of those who have gone before me: suffering, sacrificing, living, and loving. I will always  miss you Grandad but you taught me, by example, to live life in the face of suffering and never to let go of Him who gives us comfort and peace. Amen.

4 Responses to “To Grandad, A Thanksgiving Prayer”
  1. Ruth M. Dowd says:

    That was beautiful Caleb. Your Grandad would be very proud of the man you have become. God bless you and your wife. We love you very much!

  2. Darilyn Jordan says:

    You and your grandad would have been hilarious together. He would have loved giving Rachel and her dad a hard time about OSU. You remind me so much of my dad and I love it! I love you!

  3. Craig Snowbarger says:

    That was beautiful Caleb. A tribute I’m sure he would smile on.

  4. vadasmaker says:

    Caleb, you are such a wonderful, spiritual writer. Don’t ever give that up.

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