Gratitude for my Pa

In a letter I wrote to my Pa on his 70th birthday, I made an observation about my grandparent situation. Instead of two sets of good grandparents, God gave me one set of exceptional grandparents. Outside of sending Jesus and offering grace, this may be one of his best moves ever. 

It's true, the Lord broke the mold when he created my Mimi and Pa. I grew up six houses down from them, often walking over there for an afternoon chat, a weekend sleepover, or a good meal when my parents were on a health cleanse. Throughout my life, I have spent countless hours curled up on the couch talking to my grandparents. Their wisdom has guided my business and my daily choices. They have become a hybrid of grandparents, parents, counselors, and friends. No part of our relationship is out of obligation, it is simply a pure desire from both parties to be involved. It's a stunning thing that friends often point out to me is precious and rare. 

Because they are such incredible people, I desperately want to make my Mimi and Pa proud. I want them to be proud of my character, business, even my hairstyle (my Pa was a barber)

But, yesterday, I told my Pa about my anxiety. It's not a subject that makes me beam with pride. In fact, it is a very private part of my world that often fills me with shame. 

That man took it in stride. He listened and gave wisdom and encouraged me well. Pa had the insight into my personality to offer up some thoughts of why I may be struggling. He knows me so well that he was able to say just the right things. He shared a story of a challenge he had overcome earlier in his life. Every word he said pointed me back to God as the source of sovereignty, provision, and peace. There was no judgment, no fear, just love. He offered me a shoulder to lean on, an extra pair of helping hands for this long and frustrating journey. His last words were, "Next time you're feeling anxious, you call me and we'll talk" The best part? I know he meant it. He is so honest and sincere, I know he wanted me to call him and give him a chance to listen, counsel, and love. I don't know if I have ever been more touched.

There are hundreds of things I will never know about my grandfather, but what I will know is his character. From his example, I will know that he doesn't see anybody as beneath him, that he is always quick to offer a helping hand. The way he believes in the faithfulness of Jesus, supporting his friends, a strong work ethic, and loving his family, that will all be branded into my heart and mind forever. Time and time again, he has told me and showed me how to treat people fairly, how to lead through service, how to let go of judgment and embrace the gift of grace. 

Yesterday, we shared a simple conversation at the kitchen table, one of thousands we have had together. But truly, I don't know the last time I have felt so known and loved.

 Like I said, I have exceptional grandparents. They are grandparents who know me deeply, love me unconditionally, and play a big part in my life. Mimi and Pa have given me a lot over the years- a love of cornbread and the perfect Thanksgiving stuffing, a heart for family celebrations, the best shampoo for my hair type, the understanding that mission trips and a quick trip to Shreveport are both equally important, and the heart keychain that's been with me since I turned 16. That's just a sampling of the bounty they have poured out on me. But by far the best thing my Pa has ever given me was our conversation yesterday. Filled to the brim with hope, honest words, all wrapped up in a hug. 

I may never know all the jobs he has held, all the stories from his childhood, or what his latest Netflix show is (he has so many) but I will know without a doubt that my Pa loves me, he is for me, he is on my side. 

So I'll be over here basking in gratitude because the best man I know made me feel deeply loved and cared for yesterday. That's a hell of a gift, Pa. Thank you.