Now I know what you’re thinking. Ninety-two years! And yes, I’m glad my grandpa lived a good, long life. I’m also thankful my girls had the opportunity to know their great-grandpa. But no matter his age, it’s still hard to see him go.
All day Tuesday I found myself reflecting on memories of Grandpa. One of my favorite memories is the special part he played on my wedding day. Grandpa drove me and my handsome new husband to our reception in his 1909 Model T Ford. (I wrote about that experience - as well as a tribute to my grandparents here.)
I also remembered Christmas dinners at my grandparents’ house. Funny, when I was a little girl, I never really noticed how Grandpa mysteriously disappeared right before Santa made his appearance.
When my grandparents grew older they could no longer handle those big family dinners. So we started a new tradition. Grandkids and great-grandkids were encouraged to stop by whenever convenient on Christmas day. Curt and I always took our girls on Christmas night.
As each memory filled my mind, I couldn’t seem to shake the reoccurring lump in my throat. Then my mom called.
“Now don’t feel like you have to, but we were wondering if you and Curt would be willing to sing at the funeral. Talk it over and let me know as soon as you can.”
Honestly, my first thought? You've got to be kidding. And my second thought: my mom has way too much faith in me.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I cry at Hallmark commercials – and this is Grandpa’s funeral.”
“I know,” she said. “Just talk to Curt and think about it.
I spent a great deal of time thinking about it. In fact, I could hardly think about anything else. To be honest, I didn't want to do it. Not only was I afraid I’d be emotional, but I was just plain afraid! I don’t enjoy singing in front of people. And for some reason, the thought of singing in front of my family just made it worse.
After changing my mind several times, I finally decided to do it. But I was so nervous. The night before the funeral I woke up at 3 AM and couldn't get back to sleep. What if I’d made the wrong decision? I mean, how well could I sing with a lump in my throat?
Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of this earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace.
I thought about that first line: Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Suddenly I knew that's what I needed to do. I needed to stop thinking about myself and start focusing on Jesus – because this really wasn't about me.
Now here's the best part. The closer it came time for us to sing, the less nervous I felt. From the moment the organist played the first chord until we sang the last note, I felt unbelievably calm.
Thankfully, the things of this earth (like my fear and pride) did grow strangely dim once I stopped thinking about myself.
After the funeral, the church bell chimed 92 times as friends and family slowly filed out of the church.
That’s when I realized two things. First, it takes a long time to ring a church bell 92 times. And second, I’m really thankful I didn't miss the opportunity to play a special part in saying goodbye to my grandpa.