I heard my grandfather the other day. Most of you will probably think this is nothing special…but my grandfather died almost a year and a half ago. This is not my first experience with dead people. A friend of mine shot themselves during my high school years. I still dream of him. Several old people from my church who were very influential in my life have died. And just two years ago, a neighbor who was only a year older than me was killed in a drunk driving accident. That death hit me particularly hard. Mainly because “E” was the girl who helped me while I was “possessed”…but that’s another story. And now she’s died, which is strange and unnatural.
I didn’t see my grandfather. I’m not Haley Joel Osment. I simply heard him in a prayer. When my grandfather prayed, he would stand. His hands would either be in his pockets, or folded together reverently. And if they were folded, he would half unfold them and refold them constantly through out the prayer. He had dry skin, so there would be the scratching noise of his arthritic fingers pressing together providing harmony with his voice. If his hands were in his pockets, he would jingle the loose change – grasping it and releasing it at the same tempo he would fold and unfold his hands, were they folded.
His voice would take on a reverent quality. Near the end of his life, the Alzheimer’s had set in, so he merely repeated the same prayer everytime he blessed the food. Dear Lord God, we thank you for the many mercies you have blessed us with. We ask that you keep those who are not with us safe…bless my family. We thank you for the sacrifice your Son made on our behalf. We ask that you would bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies. In Jesus’ precious and holy name, Ahmen.
And even though he was steady in his faith, his voice would always sound a bit unsure. We as grandchildren believed that it was because he was completely whipped by my grandmother. But I know now my grandfather could hold his own. He simply adored my grandmother.
I heard a man praying the other day…and in him I heard my grandfather’s voice. The voice was reverent, but practiced…and a hint of a waver in it – just as my grandfather’s was. There was a hand in his pocket, fidgeting with the loose change. clink clink clink And although the man did not pray for his family, or for the food…I could hear the same faith in it. And I missed him.