Leaving a Legacy

Lord, we thank thee for this food and all blessings we receive.  For Christ’s sake, amen.

Every meal at my Grandparents Streib’s house began with this simple prayer that my grandpa would say.  I learned Saturday that my Great-Grandparents Streib didn’t bless meals, but my Great-Grandparents Wethington (Grandmother’s people) did, so when my grandparents got married, Grandpa asked Grandmother to bless so that he could learn the blessing.  The other beauty of this blessing is, it recognizes that God gives us our blessings – all of them, both big and small – and that we thank God as part of our connection to God through Jesus.  (Remembering this blessing has helped me over the past week to appreciate my own blessings more, modest though they may seem to someone who’s more materialistic.)

Grandpa died early Friday morning peacefully in his sleep after a very long, rich, blessed life.  The memorial service was today, and it reflected his values.  The service exuded the faith with which he lived his life, and he, a decorated WWII vet, received military honors.  He didn’t like talking about the war, and it’s said that he never really forgave the Japanese (knowing Grandpa, I have a hard time believing that).  However, he was very proud of his service to his country in the US Army.  Plus, if he’d never gone off to war, Grandmother and he would never have met.

Grandpa was a gardener who could create rich, loamy soil that produced abundant crops.  He was a builder with parts of several churches in their area to his credit, as well as their home.  And he was a master carpenter, building clever toys and expertly crafted furniture.  One piece he made is a box.  Grandpa crafted this box from wood from trees from the family farm in Ohio and their home here in North Carolina.  It’s gorgeous.  Two types of wood worked together and lightly varnished with a cut-out double heart on the front.  The inside holds his ashes.  When Grandmother – his wife of 67 years – dies, her ashes will join his.  They will be together in death as they were in life.

In the same way Grandpa tended and  cultivated his garden, he also tended his marriage.  He epitomized the description of how Paul says husbands should treat their wives, loving them completely and sacrificially.

What great lessons he left to his children, grandchildren and all those who knew him!  And what an incredible legacy of love, sacrifice, and quality work he left!  I got over 40 years with Grandpa and was able to see him shower my daughters with his warm, quiet, genuine love.  I watched him talk woodworking and fishing with my husband, a man after his own heart.  We will miss him, but we know he’s fishing in a far-away Crystal Sea and hearing, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

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