I loved riding around in that old yellow Nova with him, my grandfather by choice though not by blood. I don’t know how old I was when I met him, but he officially became my step-grandfather when I was 9. He didn’t have to accept me so totally as a granddaughter, but he did and I’ve never doubted his sincerity in this inclusion and acceptance.
Life was pretty crazy for me at the time. My world as I knew it had been pulled out from beneath me with the death of my beloved grandmother. Add to that the changes that came from meeting my real dad and his family, the addition of a step-family and new baby brother, and a move to a new school… I was so confused.
Maybe that’s why those little trips to town or church, riding in that old car down dusty gravel roads meant so much to me. Maybe it was his cheerful ways. Perhaps it was that he listened to what I had to say when others were so busy. He helped me to gradually make sense of it all. He gave me good advice based on his love of the Lord and helped see me through many difficulties. He also sang the sweetest old hymns as we would drive. When I learned the words, I’d join in.
When my step-grandmother passed away, the church members came to sing the old hymns at her funeral. As hard as it may be to understand, I wanted to sing along through the tears, in worship and thanksgiving to our Lord, but also as an honor to her. I wanted to sing in memory of all those beautiful Sundays I spent sitting next to the two of them singing those songs. I have to wonder how my grandfather felt hearing those same hymns that day.
It was their example and those beautiful words in the hymns that helped to make room in my heart for a strong foundation. Their lives taught me so much about love and joy and faith. My grandfather has moved a plane trip away, but he is still a vital rock for our family.
I guess that is why I still love it when we sing an old hymn at church. Many of the songs we sing are newer, more current. They are nice, but… Somehow, those old hymns are so sweet to my ears. They bring me to deeper worship and sometimes to tears. From time to time, I find myself singing one of “his” songs as I work around the house. Then, I see the enormous impact of their lives upon mine. Thank you, Grandma Belma and Grandpa Tuck.