Like a root out of dry ground...

Yesterday, we spent time with my grandfather. It was the 4 year anniversary of my grandmother's death. We went up north and visited her gravesite. It was the first time that I had done that. It was strange. As we stood atop her body six feet removed from the box that holds her body, I couldn't help but wonder where she was and what she was doing; her spirit, of course. I prayed and thanked God for the time we had with her and asked God to continue to be with my grieving grandfather, though my grandpa has yet to surrender his life to God. With each year that passes it seems more and more improbable that he will ever acknowledge Jesus as Savior. He is increasingly stubborn and grumpy. He is quite miserable to be around actually. Years of hardness and hurt have turned him upon himself and those around him. Watching him breaks my heart, really.

We spent yesterday with extended family on my mother's side. Suffice it to say that the day went by as slowly as it could. My mother's side of the family is filled with depression and was a reminder of what my mother was saved from...not just hell, but hell on earth. We came home last night, and Heidi, Mom, Dad and myself talked late into the night about what life was like for my parents growing up. I enjoyed the conversation. I love probing into the past of my parents hearing the twists and turns that formed them into who they are.

We then talked about my past and what it was like to grow up in the religious atmosphere of Southwest Oswego. A trip down memory lane, though speckled with good, is also littered with all kinds of sad stories. Strips clubs, divorces, adulteries, wayward children, alchohol, deciet, hypocrisy, legalism, depression, mental breakdowns, homosexulality...the list goes on and on. With a cursory investigation into the past, so few have stood the test of time with faithfulness. The funny thing is that I thought all of them were spiritual leaders standing against temptation like they were teaching me to do and abstaining from worldy activity like they were telling me to do. I knew nothing of this when I was one shared their problems, their failings, their confusion...they masterfully concealed the truth and continued to live out a polished and poised Christian life on the surface.

The church that I attended has since declined to 12 members most of which are part of the pastor's family. I drove past it struggling to believe that people could unravel so. The pastor has changed the constitution and adopted a more conservative position in a more rigid demonination. I don't know how that's possible since it was already conservative, but I guess they are more militant forms of fundamentalism out there waiting with bated breath to swoop down and adopt a church on the brink of extinction. The thought of it kills me.

Much of my past was a mirage of mirrors and smoke. Their were thin shafts of light that broke through the ominous clouds that continued to beckon me with hope. A hope of something else, something more. My parents were one of those rays of lights. The older they get, and the more I recall my life under their leadership and influence, I am more blown away at the hope, and faith and love they demonstrated in the midst of what appears to have been a bleak and bland surrounding. They persevered, they pressed on to live uprightly, they lead by example. And still they stand.

Tonight we are having corn on the cob and then I'm going to a baseball game with my dad. They week has been revealing...on the one hand I'm discovering the fraudulent pieces of my past, on the other hand I'm uncovering more and more reasons to marvel at the miracle of my parents and their leadership of our family. "Like a root out of dry ground."


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