|Great-grandbabies brought energy|
After Papa died, I was thinking more about his influence on my life. While I had explicitly realized how his life taught me to live out my priorities, I suddenly realized how much he impacted the way I approach faith.
One of my favorite quotes is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words. In my reflections, I realized that I may have fallen in love with this quote because that's how my grandpa shared the Gospel.
As I mentioned yesterday, one of our traditions while living together was going to a weekly meeting of the local Biblical Archaeology Society, where an academic would come and share various findings and thoughts about archaeology and religion. We would always have dinner beforehand and have great conversations on the way home. Papa would regularly read all sorts of materials on faith and science and discuss them with me.
What I didn't appreciate at the time was that this man, who was 60 years my elder, would actually ask my opinion and thoughts. And he truly wanted to know. Even after he retired, he wanted to continue to learn and build his faith, including from his grandson.
In retrospect, this behavior taught me two major things: Humility and persistent faith through questions. My grandpa, who grew up during the Great Depression, who worked a farm with his family, who fought and lived through the South Pacific battles of WWII, who raised three children, who watched his wife and daughter die of cancer, thought he could even learn from his punk grandson. If that's not humility, I don't know what is.
And talk about living through major world changes, including through scientific discovery. He wasn't terribly vocal about his faith, but it persisted until the end (the last time my wife and son saw him, he proudly showed his new large print Bible he was reading). This blog and much of my interest in faith is about finding a way for faith to persist despite a variety of challenges. I never realized it before, but I think my grandpa was absolutely central to that perspective and allowing me to maintain faith through my own trials.
I miss you, Papa, but I thank you for sharing your life with us!