Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Grandboys and Dads and Walks and Snakes,Oh My!

 Thirteen years ago today I became a Grandma. Life changed. It got better.
Happy 13th  Birthday, Connor Joe. You are a delight to my life.

 I wrote this piece many years ago after a walk with baby Connor and hope one day it will be published in Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Women.
“In the cool of the evening, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking around in the garden….”  Genesis: 3:8 (GWT)

“Let’s take a walk!” my grandson, Connor, suggests nearly each time he visits. Our walks take us into make-believe Africa hunting for the pair of stone lions gracing the driveway of a house three blocks away. The owner gave permission for Connor to sit on the lion’s back. He does and “roars” for everyone to hear. It’s fun for a four year old. I love our walks too. They bind us together on life’s journey. I have Connor’s full attention as I tell him tales of my childhood and walks with my dad.

For as long as I can remember, my dad and I took good walks. We walked in his garden. The corn stalks grew way over my head and my dad was my protection. He once commanded, “Don’t move!” Stopped in my tracks, I looked down to see a long black snake at my feet. Walks in the garden weren’t such fun once I realized a snake resided there. In the winter, we walked up snowy hills and rode down on the old wooden Flexible Flyer sled. Dad would lie on his tummy, and I would lie on his back holding on for dear life as we sped down icy slopes. What fun! As we grew older, we had great walks and talks about life and unseen snakes and lions that prowl around seeking to devour naïve young girls.

I have a picture to commemorate one of our best treks. On Dad’s 87th birthday, we walked 27 holes of golf. Dad shot the best score of his life—two over par. Now that was a memorable day as shown from the ear-to-ear grin on Dad’s sweet face photographed, framed, and placed predominantly on my piano.

It was only a few months later Dad became sick and was hospitalized. We sat together in stillness knowing our days together would soon end. The twinkle in his eye sparkled as his mouth looked up in a grin. “Let’s take a walk,” he suggested. The doctor gave his approval. I think in dad’s heart he pushed himself for one last walk with his daughter. We shuffled down the hospital corridor. With one hand he held onto me. With the other, he held the IV pole. We talked about all the walks we had taken. I said the best walk had been the 27 holes of golf on his 87th birthday. He disagreed, saying the best was walking me down the church aisle to marry my husband. Our eyes were wet on that day as they were now. I lightened the moment with a joke about his wanting me married so he wouldn’t have to pay my dental bills. But we both knew dad was giving his final blessing and approval of my husband, Dan—the man we both loved.

Dan and I treasure our long walks. Walking together is a priority to keep our bodies and our marriage in good shape. Our hands and hearts touch as we walk and talk about life—how good it has been, and how blessed we are by our love. Sometimes we encourage each other by pointing out lions and snakes the other might be missing. We leave nothing unsaid, for we never know which walk will be our last.

Death can come at any time. It came quickly for Dad. The walk down the hospital hall was our last walk together. Shortly after, Dad held God’s hand and peacefully walked to Heaven.

Must be God likes walks too. “I will walk among you and be your God.” He says in Leviticus 26:12 (NIV). God walked in the garden with Adam and warned him of snakes. God desires to walk with us and us with Him. He knows what lies ahead on our trail and He wants to journey with us, talk with us, bless us, and protect us from lions and snakes. Sometimes, He’ll pick us up and carry us as I do Connor when his little legs grow weary on the rough roads. Most important, I don’t think there will be any disagreement  that the best walk will be that last walk when He ushers His followers to Heaven.

Life is a journey of steps. We’ll meet some lions and snakes along the way. Even so, we should enjoy life’s hike and make sure the people trekking with us know how much we love them.

S.O.S.:  Dear God, thank You for walking with me through all the gardens of life. May I pay close attention to your warnings of lions and snakes and bears, oh my! Let me hear Your voice and obey when You lead me down a path that is Your choosing and not mine. Thank you for treasured times with those I love. Most of all, thank You for the assurance that You are with me, holding my hand, walking with me, and preparing a road for my steps. Keep me from stumbling and when I do, thank You for being there to carry me. I love You, Jesus. Amen.   

May your life walks be filled with Splashes of  Serenity!

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3 comments:

Rhonda Schrock said...

Perfect. I like the idea of pointing out lions and snakes to each other. :) That's only one of the wonderful things about being married to a godly man. One of the other wonderful things is all the fun you can have together, which it certainly sounds like you do!

Keep walking, friend.

Waving and smiling,

Rhonda

Elaine W. Miller said...

Thanks, Rhonda! Every road is for our good and enjoyment, don't you think? Even the worst roads teach us amazing lessons.

Enjoy your journey!

Elaine W. Miller

Llisa M Buske said...

Elaine,

Oh precious memories for you. I can feel your smile then your tears, the chuckle and one last tear as you wrote this Splash of Serenity about your Dad. May the memories hold you as you walk with Dan - the best walk your Father ever went with you. :)

Thank you for sharing! This will touch many hearts.

Lisa M. Buske

http://lisabuske.weebly.com

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