I will be saying goodbye to my grandfather when this post goes out today. He was 95 years old, a father of five, grandfather to 15, a farmer from Glenvil, Nebraska. He loved to sing. I will always remember his bass voice and (I hope) how his rough, leathery skin felt when he held my hand.
In November, I helped him make a donation to the Gwai Grandmothers in Mberengwa, Zimbabwe. His resources helped this local, remote group respond to the drought they are currently facing in their area. The money went to help, in their words, “250 orphans and vulnerable children needing staple food.”
Like the grandmothers, Grandpa Virgil knew about drought and stretching dollars, hard work and dedication, but not hunger. He was a great letter writer, and once wrote me, “I can remember the depression days when so many people didn’t have jobs. It didn’t affect us farmers. We always had plenty to eat. We raised our own.” Comparisons of food sovereignty aside, I was proud that he wanted to help.
And today I am grateful to be reminded how beautiful and simple giving can be.
“When sorrow comes, let us accept it simply, as a part of life. Let the heart be open to pain; let it be stretched by it. All the evidence we have says that this is the better way. An open heart never grows bitter. Or if it does, it cannot remain so. In the desolate hour, there is an outcry; a clenching of the hands upon emptiness; a burning pain of bereavement; a weary ache of loss. But anguish, like ecstasy, is not forever. There comes a gentleness, a returning quietness, a restoring stillness. This, too, is a door to life. Here, also is the deepening of meaning – and it can lead to dedication; a going forward to the triumph of the soul, the conquering of the wilderness. And in the process will come a deepening inward knowledge that in the final reckoning, all is well.”
~A. Powell Davies