I have told you how grandpa taught me that life was like a coin, you have to take both sides. For a little boy that was a pretty profound concept to absorb but as I grew older, I remembered that lesson and understood its simple truth.
Another time I asked grandpa why bad men like gangsters got rich and had such good lives, fast cars, big, fancy cars, expensive clothes, while many good people were poor and some did not know where their next meal would come from.
At this point I should stop to tell you that my grandparents, parents and most of my aunts and uncles grew up or were adults, many trying to raise families, during the “great depression.” Many of the terms I use originated from that period of time. Even thought I had not arrived in time for that event, I heard some reference to it nearly every day of my life. Those who lived through that time were permanently scarred and traumatized and wanted my generation to understand how bad things were and to teach us to appreciate what we had. The terms they used to describe that time have stuck with me all these years and I have even paid attention to some of the lessons they taught.
Grandpa surprised me when he got up and went to his bedroom and retrieved his Bible from his night stand. I had never thought of my grandpa as being a devout or a non-devout man. We had never discussed the Bible except in passing. I only saw my grandpa as the smartest man that ever lived. I never questioned anything about the source of his wisdom. I was just a little boy who loved, and was loved by, his grandpa.
Grandpa and I sat on the big sofa in the living room, a room usually reserved for visiting with company. He introduced me to the book of Ecclesiastes and read the whole short book to me. I have to tell you, it made no sense to me a eight years old but grandpa made me promise to read that book of the Bible at least once every six months for the rest of my life, a promise I have tried to keep but fall short at times. Over the years it began to make more and more sense and I came to understand that it explained all there is to know about the meaning of life and that what we have, or do not have, is not the measure of our success in life. Another time he introduced me to the book of Job. I have thanked God many times that he did not read the whole book to me in one setting. Over the years he would question me about some part of Job’s life. I felt so very special when I could explain my understanding of what he asked about and he would hug me. Sometimes, when reading Job, I can still feel his arms around me.
Once, I asked grandma about Grandpa’s Bible reading. I told her that I had never seen him reading anything but the newspaper. She told me that he kept his Bible on his night stand and every night would spend an hour before he went to sleep, lying on the bed reading from it and meditating about its lessons. I began to do the same thing and even thought I do not read the Bible every night, I do spend about an hour each night, just before saying my prayers, reading. It is a habit that has been with me for over fifty-five years. I always figured if grandpa did it, it must be the right thing to do. I still feel the same way. And now my lovely wife knows the secret of why I lay in bed and read each night.
Grandpa never did answer my original question, but he taught me how to find the answer for myself. Some nights I think I can feel him there, reading with me and I hate to stop and turn off the light.
See you next time
Peace and Love to you all