Note to My Readers: from mid-June to mid-August (6/18 - 8/20), I will be taking a summer break from posting new articles for my Thursday and Friday slots. This will only affect my Thursday series on the global growth of Christianity, and my Friday series, the "Theological Bestiary" of birds, both of which will resume in late August. During the summer, I'll be dusting off some of my best essays from the first few years of this blog (a decade ago), as well as my verse play "Thus Ends the World," and re-posting them in the Thursday and Friday slots. All other weekdays will continue to feature new material throughout the summer.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Poem for my Grandpa

Early this past Thursday morning, my grandpa, Almon McDougal, passed away at the age of 89. I want to post a poem in his memory, one that I had written nearly ten years ago. I was in my college season of life at the time, back home for the summer, and I had attended my church's Wednesday night prayer meeting, where my grandparents were faithful attenders. That night he was reflecting on his advancing age during the discussion time, and I recall him saying, with a smile and a twinkle in his eye, that he never expected to get this far. "I always thought I'd be gone at 65!" he laughed. And then he told us, in his simple but expressive way, how he regarded each new day as an unexpected gift of God, above and beyond what he thought he would receive. I went home that night and wrote a poem about his words. Here it is:



“Every day is a treasure,”
So he told us with a twinkle in his eye,
Raising an instructive finger
Now covered in the calluses of years gone by,
Of his tireless working of the land.
I sat there with my Grandpa
In the quiet of the old church vestry,
Ready to go to prayer with him,
To learn once again from the humble faith
Of this simple, grateful saint.
He is old, and nearer the end,
And I am young, still only beginning,
And his words, wise from all the years
Of weathering the harsh Maine winters,
Ring true in my heart.
Whether we find that truth in the peaceful joys
Of a journey of eighty years
Or in the thrilling rush of adventurous dreams
That stir a younger heart,
We must learn to greet the dawn each day
And in the fire of the ever-rising sun,
To breathe that grateful prayer
And commit to the gift of the time that is ours,
That this day, each day,
Will be the best day we can make of it;
For it is in the journey of every moment
That we return the heavenly gift
In a dance of wondrous praise.

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