One fine day back in 2020, my good friend shared her desire to embark on a road trip around my home state. I responded “I’ll go with you!” We’d just come out of another nationwide lockdown. There was a nervous inkling just maybe, there would be another lockdown looming on the horizon. I just wanted to be out and away!

Well, that was not to be. Covid and lockdowns, work and family saw our getaway dream simmering on the backburner. I believed it’ll all fall into place when the time was right. That time was Dec 2021. A year and half since the idea first sprung.

When planning our itinerary, I listed a particular town as a recommended stopover. Why? The beaches are a must see! Secretly, personally, I wanted to be there as I was missing grandpa very, very much.

Grandpa and grandma were a fixture in my life in my early childhood. They lived just a few doors away. Waking up in the morning, I’d rush through breakfast so I could skip along to grandpa and grandma’s. Being with them and in their home was one of the happiest moments in my growing up years. It was my experience of unconditional love. They loved me for who I was, just as I was.

I was a very inquisitive child. I had questions. Many, many questions about all I observed around me. Grandpa was well-read and very knowledgeable. He would patiently respond to my every question. At times, he would respond to my question with a question. Encouraging me to think and articulate my thoughts. Our conversations were quite ‘grown up’. Grandpa treated me as a little person with a mind of my own. He created a safe space for me to ask about anything and to share all that was on my mind and heart.

Then there were the long walks to town (while I chatted endlessly) for kopi O and biscuits at the kopitiam. Grandpa knew just about everybody in town. He had a knack for striking up a conversation with anybody. Friendships came easy to him. Folks took to his charm and were fond of him. 

I enjoyed our times together in the garden. He spoke much to me about flora and fauna. I must have taken my love for people, nature and long walks from him.

When grandma passed away suddenly, grandpa moved away to live with my aunt. I was just six and couldn’t understand why he had to go. I lost my grandpa, my counsellor, my comforter, my confidante, and my friend all at once.

I saw grandpa from time to time over the years. Yet, it wasn’t the same. I never had the space to be alone with him and rekindle our one-on-one chats. No more kopi O and biscuits at the kopitiam. No more long walks or time spent in the garden. No more basking in unconditional love. Then grandpa passed away two decades ago .. it shall never be.      

The last few months I have been remembering grandpa much. Missing him. Missing our conversations. It was a very tough past year. I had so many questions. If only he was here so I could ask him. He would have a wise response. He’d know how to soothe the rough in my days. He’s not here anymore. Maybe if I could be where he was, I’d sense him, hear him.

As my friend and I roamed the town my grandpa arrived in as an emigrant, I sensed him. In my heart I felt close to him. As we explored the coastlines and skyscapes, I thought of him. Did he enjoy these same views? Did it cause him to think of the seashores of his homeland? As my friend and I went on long walks, I wondered. Did grandpa walk these same paths?

Being there where he built a life for himself and his family, stories of him came back to memory. Stories of his kindness and generosity when he made it big. Stories of his courage in the war years. Stories of his joie de vivre. Stories of his love for his family, friends, community and workers. Stories of his reverence of God.

Then unanticipated, I saw God in the story of us – grandpa and me. Grandpa lived by the principle to whom much is given, much is expected. His acts of charity were borne out of this belief. From offering scholarships to poor students, to free milk to infants and toddlers of poor families and nutritious breakfasts and lunches for all his workers. He would say, “May God remember my kindness unto my children and my children’s children.”

He thought of me even then. He loved me even then. As it is with God.

Long ago, even before He made the world, God chose us to be His very own .. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And this He did because He wanted to! (Eph 1:4, 5)  

As I sat on the rock listening to the wind and the waves, I remembered too stories of how my grandpa worked hard. Only now I realize he did not labour to reap the fruits for himself. He was toiling in love to lay the foundation for his children and grandchildren. That we may build our lives on solid footing.

He thought of me even then. He loved me even then. As it is with God.

.. you are members of God’s holy family. And residents of His household. You are being built on solid foundation: the message of the prophets and the voices of God’s chosen emissaries with Jesus, the Anointed Himself, the precious cornerstone. (Eph 2:19, 20)

As I looked out at the ocean and felt the cool breeze, it dawned on me. My grandpa laboured with love to set in place a strong foundation. That I may be free to be who I am, to weave my own story and find my own path upon the foundation of his laying.

He thought of me even then. He loved me even then. As it is with God. 

God sent His only Son to His death so that I may be liberated from all that shackled me. Death, darkness, and deceit of the world. That I may be free to be who I am created to be. With my hand in God’s, to weave together the story He begun authoring even before I was formed in my mother’s womb. That I may discover for myself the unique path He has laid out for me as I journey in this world onto my true home.

As the waves gently wash over the shore, my soul hears a whisper.

 “I am glad you came. Now go. Live your life. Create your own story. Make your own path. I live on in your story.”

“Thank you, grandpa. I love you grandpa. I will live so you may live on ..”

I am filled with gratitude.  

Leisure Times On the North Shore

1 thought on “<strong><em>GRANDPA, GOD and GRATITUDE</em></strong>”

  1. Mukire Rachel Mhango

    So touching. Your grandparents have lived a legacy for you to care for others. And has touched my heart too to help with the little that I have

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