Thursday, December 20


In the spirit of Christmas, Life and Family I wanted to share something personal with all of you. Every year as Christmas approaches I find myself stopping to try and slow down a little and be mindful of all of the gifts that God has given me. Since this year had a little "extra" busy-ness with the approaching birth of Alaina Claire, I was especially mindful of these gifts. Three very special gifts that I am grateful for are my three departed grandparents. I probably didn't take enough time while they were alive to fully understand their traits which live in me or to thank them for their love.

As Alaina's birth approached I wanted to have my departed grandparents there with me, not only in spirit, but in a symbolic or physical way and so I come to the picture above. The three things in the picture are a knife that belonged to Grandaddy, a rosary that belonged to Gran-Gran and a pen that belonged to Grandpa. Last Friday morning I carried these items in my pocket from the time we left for the hospital, through the delivery room, and until late that night. I can't tell you how many times that day I found my hands sliding into my pocket to hold one or all of these precious items as a source of strength, never to be let down.

And so to explain a little more about the three items and honor the memory of my departed grandparents I want to share with you the significance of each item. It is my hope that the qualities I speak of that I remember so well regarding each of my departed grandparents continue to be strengths of mine and things that I can pass on to Alaina as well as Jacob and William.

The Pocket Knife (Grandaddy)

Grandaddy had many traits that I admire so much and try hard to emulate. He especially was a man that was prepared for whatever may come his way and had a special way of not worrying about things which he could not control. To this point, he always had a liking for pocket knives and I can remember giving him one on several occasions for birthday or Christmas gifts. To me, the liking of knives is a reminder of the preparedness that Grandaddy always seemed to have; that by being prepared and not caught off guard allowed him to live what I remember as a life that was slower and less worrisome. I admire that tremendously. I love you Grandaddy.

The Rosary (Gran-Gran)

Honestly, I do not know much about Gran-Gran's rosary. My dad gave it to me after her passing. However, it reminds me tremendously of her faith and how though it wasn't something that stood out about her, but was something that was always there, hidden at a much deeper, personal level, driving her actions and acting as her foundation. In a way, not knowing or remembering the specifics about her rosary fits this trait. You see, like Gran-Gran's faith the rosary wasn't something obvious and noticeable everyday, but was always there acting as a reminder to her of the importance of God in her life. What I do remember about Gran-Gran, as would most who knew her, is that she was a woman of tremendous strength to the point that sometimes caused her to be a little bull-headed (a Wilson trait). It is now after her passing that I realize that her strength was rooted in her faith. As strong-willed and maybe even stubborn as she could be, I think it was always a distant second to the strength of her faith. Truly a gift that I am proud of and hope that I can instill in my children. I love you Gran-Gran.

The Pen (Grandpa)

This pen was a gift that I gave to Grandpa and that I am told he loved very much. The picture may not show it, but the pen is engraved "Grandpa". Grandpa loved a good pen and seemed to always have a pen on his person. To me the pen symbolizes Grandpa's assertiveness. When it came to faith, Grandpa had a strong one, and with it came opinions on most everything. He loved to "share" his beliefs with anyone that would listen and to this point he reminds me of the evangelist that God has called each of us to be. Grandpa read and studied his bibles constantly. A reminder of this is the number of bibles he left behind and all of his thoughts and notes written (with his pens) in the margins of those bibles. His bibles were truly working bibles and a record of his thoughts and his dedication to wanting to know and understand God's will for us. I think this sort of effort, in and of itself, is a humble discipline and something that pleases God very much. I hope that a little of that is in me. I love you Grandpa.

This Holiday Season it is my wish that each and all of us can recognize the importance of the gifts that God gave our departed loved-ones. That we can each find the will to work hard to strengthen those qualities in our own lives as well as teach those qualities to our children.


Holly said...

I totally did not come here expecting to read a post like this but I am so glad I did. What a beautiful message!

the mommy said...

Ok honey you totally can't write something like this on our blog for the woman that just gave birth to your 3rd child and whose hormones are still crazy to just "stumble upon" and read. That is the sweetest sentiment of your grandparents.
From what I know of all of them, mind you I didn't know them all personally, you posess wonderful traits from them all. Jacob, William and Alaina will be very lucky to inherit the same from you.

What a wonderful husband, father, son and grandson you are! I love you!!

Lea Ann said...

Okay, this brought tears to my eyes. James you are such a good person! I'm sure that Grandpa looks down on you and smiles- knowing that you and other people saw God's love through him. What I would give for one more hug from him. Have a great weekend!

Mommy said...

It is our past, in many ways, that shapes who we become in the future. I believe the best way to live our lives is not by telling the world who we are on the inside but showing the world. It sounds like your grandparents felt the same. You carry so many of these traits my friend. Your children are so blessed to have a Father like you and I know your beautiful wife feels the same. Thank you for sharing.


Amy Call said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Thank you for writing this. You are exactly right!!! Please also know, as your amazing wife has said...we all see similar traits in you. What an example you set for your three younger siblings, your children and anyone lucky enough to know you!! You also show such special things through your beautiful family!! I am so proud you are my nig brother. I love you!! Merry Christmas!! Give your family my love!! Kiss those babies!!!

Amy Call said...

uh...I meant BIG brother..tears must have blurred my vision..I am a hunt and pecker...sorry!!!

Love you all!!

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