Over the 4th of July, I drove the boys to Indiana for a visit. Beforehand, I was thinking that I was either crazy or gonna be when I arrived, since I decided to drive over 8 hours, alone, with two children under two. But both boys totally surprised me and were even better than their great selves and we arrived with only about 30 minutes tacked on to our travel time. We only got out of the car when I needed a restroom, otherwise, we stayed contained in the swagger wagon while I fed baby Jack– I even packed our lunch and snacks, thinking that would help pass the time. And it worked– the trip was painless and well worth my pre-travel scrutinizing and organizing to get us there without any debacles. Now why Indiana you might ask- especially since most people head to the beach or somewhere “fun” for the 4th of July. But my parents live there, my brother Sam, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles and my cousins. And all of the above see to it that my children think Indy is the greatest place EVER… and they love it! I’m not sure they’ll want to “vacation” anywhere else… at least until they’re old enough to know better!
Anyway, we’ve got lots of people there, and I was really looking forward to my parents loving on (helping with) the boys for a week- but my big reason for making the drive was my Papaw. My Papaw, aka John Henry is one of the greatest men who have graced this earth. So much so, that my sweet baby Jack is named after him. Therefore I HAD to get their picture together ASAP.
My Papaw was a Christian pastor, he is the father of 5 children, one of them being my mom, the grandfather to 9 grandchildren, and great grandfather to four great grandchildren (thus far). Now he has been known to tell “Papaw jokes”- you know the really corny ones, but he is the kindest, my gentlest man. He’s a hard worker who will do anything for anyone, an early riser who spent a lot of time in The Word, a gardener, and the provider of donuts every morning that I visited him. My Papaw came from Indiana to North Carolina when I was 9 years old, to baptize me on Valentine’s day, at my request. He also rode us around on bikes, took us to the church playground many a times, wrestled and played with us on the floor, and was even the dean at church camp. My favorite thing about him is his ability to rock and sing any baby to sleep. “You are my sunshine” is the song I’ve sung Max since he was born because of my Papaw- I can hear him singing it although it has been years! I can only imagine how many lives Papaw has touched, beyond just our family, during his years of service to the Lord.
Unfortunately, my Papaw’s brain doesn’t work like it used to- he gets confused easily, forgets things a lot, repeats almost everything, asks “simple” questions, and really relies on my Mamaw for everything. But despite all that, he can still recite every hymn in the book and tell you what the scriptures say. Now if that doesn’t point to a man who hid His Word in his own heart, then I don’t know what does! He may forget what appears to be obvious here on earth, but what’s eternal is buried in his mind and heart forever. That thought makes my breath catch in my chest!
And now, my sweet baby Jack is named after him, and I can only pray that my Papaw’s Jesus will soon inhibit my Jack’s heart and fill him, the way God has filled my Papaw for so many decades.