Yesterday I watched some precious children have to say goodbye to their grandfather at his funeral. Seeing their tears made me remember how priceless a good pawpaw is in a child’s life.
When I was three years old my grandparents brought us a dog. A dachshund puppy that was only a few months old, with a plain rope looped around his neck for a leash. We named him Fritz, bought him a collar and a basket to sleep in on the porch and he was a part of the family for the next ten years.
My grandpa said they bought him for us because I needed a dog. Because I needed something to love.
I’m glad he knew that.
He also told my mother when I was little to let me do some things by myself, so I’d know that I could. Like when I’d go stay with my grandparents, he’d send me in McWhorter’s grocery store to buy something all by myself. All I had to do was sign his name on the ticket. Always made me feel so big and important.
I’m glad he let me do that.
One day when he and I were out somewhere and I was bothered by another little kid in the store staring at me, I asked him about it and he said that boy was only doing that because he’d never seen a little girl as pretty as me.
I’m glad he said that.
All that happened before I entered the second grade. And my grandfather died before I finished the second grade.
But those things he gave me have always stuck with me.
I don’t know where I might be if they hadn’t.
And I can’t help but wonder where I might be had my grandfather lived longer.
To keep reminding me of those truths about myself.
Maybe we all need our own personal version of Abilene, from The Help, saying,
“You is kind. You is good. You is important.”
Over and over and over. Until we believe it.
That’s how we learn the truth –
The truth of who we are, of who God made us to be.
The truth He wants us to live out of – you know,
Truth that sets us free.