Sunday, May 24, 2009

grandpa, contemplation and urgency ...

On Friday we said good-bye to my grandfather. He was 86, and it took a heavy blow to the head to take him out ... I reckon he would have kicked on for another decade if not for his fall. Reading out his eulogy awakened a deeper appreciation for the legacy he's left me and the rest of his family. I didn't know that he was so instrumental in the setting up of South Australia's rural grain handling network ... I didn't know he was a lay methodist preacher for 40 years ... I never realised the impact he had on so many in his latter years just by being an encourager - until he died.

Today I spoke at his home church in Lameroo ... where about 20 faithful people gathered - friends of Harry, my Grandpa. It was kind of surreal - preaching on the same platform from where he had had so much influence over so many years ... nostalgic ... healing in a way. If not for the persistance and resiliance of this old farmer (among others), I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today ... if not for his faithfulness (although flawed at times), I wouldn't be playing my part in the story ... which, I might add, is a much bigger story than what I initially imagined.

And so, as I take the 2 hour ride home, I'm drawn into a deeper appreciation for my history ... a larger picture of the potential of my own contribution ... a greater resolve to participate in the landscape of what God is doing here in my country. This type of contemplation is what fuels me ... maybe it's weird that my Grandfather's passing initiates it, then again, maybe not.

It's true that the shortness of life compels us to think about the urgency of what God desires of us whle we're still around ... but I reckon this "urgency" isn't just about eternal fire insurance (that people will be saved from the judgement to come) ... this urgency is about becoming all that I'm supposed to be, contributing in the manner I'm called to, and helping others step into the restoration that Christ alone has brought into His creation. ... an urgency with the motive of long-term movement and legacy over short-lived frenzy and activity.

So... I'm glad that my Grandpa is in "a better place" now ... but I'm more glad that he contributed while he was here - that, while he longed for heaven, he was compelled to serve on a hospital board, initiate better grain storage strategies, raise a God-fearing family, and go out of his way to say a kind word whenever he saw fit ... I'm glad that his legacy goes deeper than a "courageous" telling of Jesus' story, and is easily recognised as an integral current-day part of Jesus' story ... I'm glad that I'm a part of that legacy, and therefore a part of that story.

2 comments:

Helen said...

Hey Trav - sorry to hear about your grandfather. It's a bit of an awakening time isn't it - the fact of our own humanity, and that the picture really is so much bigger than our own lives. It's so easy to be wrapped up in what's going on for ourselves (I think the older and more mature - tee hee - we get, we can begin to see the importance of playing our part, really, really well!!) Thank God that He sees it all - he knows just where you fit into it all, the spaces left by your grandfather for you to fill. Kinda cool eh!! Anyway, must go and have a lie down after all that deep thinking and stuff. Much, much love to you all down there in the sub-arctic areas. The (foxy)Oxies.

Kaye Johnson said...

Hi Travis - I'm sorry you didn't know about Grandpa's achievements during his lifetime. I guess when you grow up with them you just assume your children know about it all. His passing has also made me aware of the legacy of his generation and of the previous generations too. Thank you for being the loving, caring son and grandson with the passion for passing on the story.