He stopped by after work today to take Gideon to the pond to work on “the clubhouse”.
They were gone for who knows how long, but it wasn’t long enough.
It never is, and when Gid came back home from a couple of hours with his granddaddy in the great outdoors, he declared, “this is the best day I ever had. I wish it would never end…”
Like his mother, Gideon tends to speak in superlatives to express the triumphs or misery of his heart.
“Worst day ever”.
“BEST day ever…”
And so I know what he was trying to say: “I just had so much fun, and my heart is so happy that he came by…”
And what I find astounding about all of it is not so much that Gideon had “the best day ever”, but that this man, this granddaddy of my children, this daddy of mine, who labors long hours at a grueling job, will stop by on his way home from work to give his grandson the best day he EVER had.
Astounding, but not abnormal.
I’ve lost track of the number of days he has stopped by of an afternoon, taking his heavy and dirt-crusted work boots off on the front porch, or stomping them thoroughly down, at the very least.
Sometimes he brings a snack from the local gas station.
Sometimes he is bearing gifts, a cool rock he found for Gid, an animal skull to add to our random collection, a piece of antique metal he dug up on the job.
And on the many afternoons we find ourselves at his house when the workday ends, the routine is always the same: he takes off his boots, he greets us congenially, he gets a Ginger Ale out of the fridge, he fetches a box of Cheez-its out of the pantry, he rustles up a container of peanuts, and he takes his seat at the head of the table – the same seat he has occupied since the table was purchased four decades ago – where he and the kids start divvying up the snacks, munching and drinking to their heart’s content.
It is so moving for me to see my children digging through the snap-closured pockets of his tan work shirts, the same work shirts he has worn every day for as long as I’ve been alive, and finding the same treasures that I used to play with as a little girl. The tip cleaners. The soapstone chalk.
And the reason I’m watching it all so closely and taking it all in is because it has been ruminating in my heart these past few years, this thirst for real, life-changing truth, this settling down of my ambitions.
I just so wanted to BE something.
To have my name recognized.
To gather up some fanfare.
To make a lasting impact.
I realize now that this is an inherent craving of the human heart and is nothing more than a misplaced hope that masquerades as something praiseworthy. “Leaving behind a legacy” and so on and so forth.
The knowledge that we should live forever, the Romans 1 realization that God is real and that we are without excuse, tries to cover its sight and find relief in a quest for eternity in something other than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We grasp for recognition or validation in anything other than this call to lose ourselves, thinking that if we can just be somewhere important…on the cover of a magazine, on the dustcover of a book, on the screen of a television…then we’ll count.
We’ll be REAL.
Our name will maybe, somehow, be attached to something that will live on, once we’re gone.
But this is all a mirage, isn’t it?
We should have known it was the minute we first felt ashes in our mouth after a perceived achievement lost its luster and gathered dust in the memories of all who were there to witness it.
Wasn’t I “Most Popular” once in a long forgotten yearbook?
All of the silly, youthful triumphs are long gone, and in their place a new hunt arises as quickly as the old victory is shelved.
What can fill me up now?
A new accolade? A new title? Another subscriber?
But I’m really and truly starting to see it.
Beyond the spotlights, far removed from the viral, a figure emerges.
He looks like a nobody.
Same jeans, shirt and boots, every single day.
Same lunch in the same lunchbox.
The circle of his influence is miniscule. A couple of work hands he oversees five days a week. The wife he has been married to for forty-four years. Four kids, scattered across Oklahoma. A couple of handfuls of grandkids. A Sunday School class. A small church.
But his life is starting to outshine the elite.
He sins everyday, but his sin grieves him. He shares about his struggles weekly with his Sunday classroom of young adults.
He works tirelessly, in sickness, in snow, in sweltering heat, in overtime.
He daily rises earlier than he has to, to spend time in the Word of God and to study his Sunday School lesson.
He gives his hard-earned money freely, wherever the Spirit leads.
And every single day, he chinks away at the natural man until he looks more and more like the Christ who saved him so many years ago.
His hair is graying.
The wrinkles on his face are deepening.
The frame of his body has grown leaner.
But his godliness increases and his love for self decreases and his ambitions diminish more with every step he takes.
And on his way home from work, he stops by the house of a 7-year old boy to spend time with him, just because he loves him and just because he remembers what an impact his own granddaddy had on him so many years ago.
Do you know what, fame?
I want to be like that man.
Nameless, in the sea of recognizable faces.
Weathered, among the shiny, the faux and gilded.
Ordinary, but pointing daily to a greatness that holds up the world.
I’m continuing to let go of the pursuit and I’m just thinking that, if I can turn out to be the sort of “great” that my daddy is, the sort of great that points directly to the One who made me and who loved me first and who saved me from sin, death, hell and myself, the sort of great that is the ONLY great that actually lasts forever…
that would be so great.
Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia.
But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
Thank you for reading today! Comments are welcomed and cherished. If you are new here and would like to keep up with Mrs. Gore and family on Facebook, find us by clicking here!