His voice rasps out the words. I’ve never heard him sing, and I can’t understand the lyrics. But my eyes well up because the love and tenderness are unmistakable.
“I’ve been singing to Grandma,” he tells me, his eyes fixed someplace past me, the sweet blue somewhat faded, unfocused. He squeezes my hand.
“We’ve had a good life.”
I hate how their words so often sound a long, lingering good-bye. His words have twinges of fear and urgency. Hers are spoken with a quiet gentleness that just wants someone to remember. To know her stories, her life, her people.
And I breathe thanks to our Father that He gave me this gift of time.
“Preach me a sermon, honey. I need one of those today.”
I smile because I know these words are coming. My heart swells because he’s asking me to point him to God, though time and time again, I tell him he can go straight to the Source himself.
“I just feel better when you’re doing the preaching,” he’ll just tell me. He’s asking me to pray for him, pray with him. And this. This is answered prayer to me.
So we bow our heads together, his stubbly cheek pressed next to mine. He grasps my hand with his own. Blue lines zigzag over his work worn hands, the skin once so tough, now paper thin and fragile. And I pray, stumbling over my words, holding tears at bay. Because this time is precious.
“Grandpa,” I say nervously, “Can I read to you?”
“Why sure, honey, I’d like that,” he pats my hand. Always reassuring me.
I open the bright pages of The Jesus Storybook Bible and offer a silent prayer. I breathe deep and begin reading with trembling words.
And I watch the words wrap themselves around Grandpa. His shoulders relax, and he closes his eyes as he listens, nodding once in a while. Grandma leans in and listens too, humoring my whim. I pray the beauty of the words be a soothing balm to restless, tired hearts.
He claps when I’m done the first night. The next time, he expects it and settles in sooner.
And my joy overflows.
I see the Word doing the same thing to these littles of mine. The four I’ve born and raised so far, they’ve heard the words. Maybe we’ve even grown too complacent with the beauty and majesty of this love letter written to us. But these two just come to us…the ones who are mine by heart…but not by blood…these two show us a different perspective. Their life parallels the love affair of mankind with their Creator. They’ve lived the brokenness caused by sin and rebellion. They’ve been abandoned and forgotten. They’ve come full circle and been fostered and had parents say “we want you. No matter what’s happened or what will happen, we want you.” And they live the uncertainty…the insecurity…that says, nope I’ve got to earn this love.
I know it is by our consistent, though imperfect love, that we will point them to the One who loves perfectly. The one who loves freely.
I wonder how it is that I am so lucky to be able to share this Jesus story with these broken littles in my home…and these beautiful aged souls nearing home.
And I feel this forever love wrap its way around my heart, holding all the tender, broken places sweetly. So I open the pages of a simple, wonderful, colorful children’s Bible – and I share the forever love.