I heard a newer version of an old hymn on the radio today, called, "I'll fly away." It immediately reminded me of my Grandpa on my dad's side. He went to be with Jesus several years ago now, but I still think of him often. I remember him singing "I'll fly away," sometimes on his own, sometimes with his sons barber-shop style.
Here's an a capella version of the song that I found on YouTube. It's a little slow in the beginning, but really picks up before the end of the first minute. I think my grandpa and uncles sounded better, but it's a sweet reminder of them.
My grandpa was an amazing, godly man. He lived a life of integrity and showed compassion to everyone he knew. As sad as I was to lose him in this life, I knew that the words to this tune were the song of his heart: "When I die, hallelujah by and by....I'll fly away to glory." Because of his relationship with Jesus, dying wasn't the end of life - it was only the beginning.
I've been thinking about my Grandpa a lot as we get closer to adopting kids. I don't know if there's a particular reason, except that I loved him so much, and that I wish my kids could meet him and know what an amazing man he was. I hope and pray that they'll accept Jesus as their Savior, so that they can meet him in Heaven someday.
My grandpa was great with kids. He was wise, listened well, could fix anything, and when he talked to you, it was like you were the most important person in his world at the moment. As a kid, that's pretty priceless. Actually, as an adult, that's pretty priceless. He told great stories, and I wish I could remember them well enough to write them down.
I also remember him teaching us different songs, some of them in the Navajo language. My grandpa had a huge heart for people who needed Jesus, and he, as well as other people in my family, had spent a lot of time with the Navajo Indian tribe. Looking back, that's a piece of my family heritage I'm very proud of. It made me think about people of different backgrounds, races, and cultures, and started framing them in my mind as people who God deeply loves and cherishes. I think that's part of why it was so easy to say that we'd take any race when we adopt kids.
Even though it's been years since he went home to heaven, he still has an impact on my life. His legacy is one of loving God, loving family, and loving people with his whole heart. On the day he died, I pictured him in heaven, with God saying, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." His life challenges me to love God, family, and others better. I want to leave a legacy like my grandpa did.
I wouldn't bring him back to earth for anything, but sometimes I wish I could tell him thank you. Thanks for being such a wonderful grandpa, for being an example of loving God, for raising a great son who turned into a wonderful dad for me. He's given me so much. As humble a man as he was, though, I don't know if he'd need to hear the words. I think it would be enough for him for me to follow after God with my whole heart, just like he did.
So that's the plan: Love God, love family, and love people. With my whole heart.