Almost three years ago to the day I shared this…and the hole is still there.
The Good Fight: An Open Letter To Pops
2 Timothy 4:6-8
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
I knew this day would eventually come…but I didn’t want it to end like this. I would picture you having us all around you, laughing and playing, telling jokes and listening to that one baseball story over and over and over again. I see us all, your kids, grand kids, great-grands, and even great-great grands there as you have always taught us to stick together. I can see the smile on your face, the infectious-crazy laugh that would shake your whole body, and the way you would bring those three fingers together to explain something. I knew this day would eventually come.
I know you will never tell anyone I was your favorite (it’s okay…it’s our little secret) and you had a way of getting things done when you wanted them. I remember taking you back to Atlanta with me to check on your sons and how every other month you would ask me to take you back. How, as a rite of passage, you would make us take off your shoes and socks when you could have done it yourself. And when we said “no”, you would look at us with those puppy dog eyes and say “you don’t love your granddaddy?” then say something outrageous that would have those shoes in the room lined up in the closet. How summers were the time you had to earn your keep for the younger males in the house. Working either around the house or on a construction site. Showing us that when you learn something, it can sustain you for the rest of your life. I knew this day would come…
The last time I came in the house and greeted everyone, you were the last person I spoke to. As I reached out my hand to shake yours, I remembered how those hands had done so much for everyone. But those hands and the strength behind them were not as they were before. In the last conversation that I had with you, I asked you how you were and without batting an eye you said “Son, I’m weak”. Weak??? My granddad??? MY POPS…WEAK??? As I looked into your eyes, I knew what you were saying to me. Never have I heard this man say the word “weak”. If he was not feeling good, he would say “this thing is trying to get me” or “the old man ain’t his best”…but weak? Right then I knew…the day had come.
I knew that you were ready to go; you have fought the good fight. Let’s face it, if it weren’t for you, where would I be? You have taught me so much about life, love, and a relationship with Christ. But it’s not just what you have done for me, but the family and friends. No, everything wasn’t done right…but what is; we all would take SOMETHING back from what we done, but we can’t. But what you did show us is how to live through a mistake. As Paul said, you were ready to be offered and you knew your time was at hand. I know you didn’t want to leave this place (because we know you are nosey like that) and we don’t want you to go. But how selfish is that to have you here in this state when you can be pain free over there? Your grandparents, parents, sisters, children and a host of relatives waiting to greet you. I know…but I hate to see you go.
You HAVE fought a good fight, you HAVE finished the course and you HAVE kept the faith. I knew this day would eventually come…but I know you are at peace.