THE DAY

Dear Grandpa,

Here is the letter I promised
You. I’m sitting on a tweed couch
Flecked with orange and brown
And green in Aunt Sue’s living
Room. The aquarium is gurgling
Across the room. Whomever was
Walking upstairs isn’t any longer
Because the ceiling has stopped
Creaking.

In a way this is an extension of a
Letter I’ve started at least three
Times. It’s a letter I feel I will be
Extending for the rest of my life.
Where to begin?
You’ve lived the kind of life people
Marvel. Sitting here I can’t
Imagine myself doing it, but you,
For you it was as natural as
Breathing.

I remember how you used to hug
Me so hard and growl like a bear;
Then I’d squeeze my arms around
You even harder which only made
You squeeze harder. I can almost
Feel your arms around me
Now.

In my last letter I wrote how I was
Proud to have you as my Grandfather.
You were the door for thousands
Of people and through which,
Jesus the Christ, the Most High
God entered into their hearts.
When I think of that and stand
Under the starry night I can’t help
But shout for joy. Shout with the
Stars and leap and dance and laugh.

The painting you had on the wall
Of your office at Kaiser was so
Appropriate. The hospital 15 stories
Tall with Jesus just as much standing
Outside it knocking. Yes, Grandpa,
The countless hands you held, the bed
Pans, the souls you brought
Water; “Whatever you’ve done for
The least of these you’ve done for
Me.”

And by now I’m sure you’ve heard
Enough of this sort of talk. You want
To know how my relationship with
Jesus is going. To which I have to say
The same thing I said in the last letter.
David’s prayer of “dwelling in the House
Of the LORD forever” is becoming very
Real to me and is one I pray lying on my
Bed in the mornings. It is a desire that
Has sprung from the same root as the
Other prayer I’ve been praying for close
To 20 years now: that I become David,
Beloved, a man after God’s own
Heart.

This prayer is a gift I’ve inherited from
You. Just as sins are passed down through
Generations so are acts of righteousness.
And the example you set is a high one indeed.
Last Thanksgiving I celebrated with Colleen
And Dick and Stephen. As I walked into
Their home I set my things down and stood
Facing them in their kitchen. Their canary,
Harvey, was sitting on Dick’s shoulder eating
Peanuts. The next thing I knew he flew
Towards me and landed on my head.

“It’s an omen,” Colleen said. I couldn’t help
but think of the Spirit of God descending on
Jesus as a dove when John the Baptist baptized
Him.
There have been numerous other times but
This is one of the more overt circumstances
In which I have felt marked.


What a strange thing it is Grandpa that you
Are dead. That there is a fresh-cut granite
Stone with your name on it is beyond me.
I know this is naïve; but I always thought we’d
All blow up or Jesus would come back or some-
Thing; but not you die and the rest of us be
Left to fend and pray for ourselves. Now
I have an inkling what the disciples felt like
When Jesus left them for the last time to
Carry on the work he began.

Thank you, Grandpa.

I love you.

November, 1990

THE DAY

Dear Grandpa,

Here is the letter I promised
You. I’m sitting on a tweed couch
Flecked with orange and brown
And green in Aunt Sue’s living
Room. The aquarium is gurgling
Across the room. Whomever was
Walking upstairs isn’t any longer
Because the ceiling has stopped
Creaking.

In a way this is an extension of a
Letter I’ve started at least three
Times. It’s a letter I feel I will be
Extending for the rest of my life.
Where to begin?
You’ve lived the kind of life people
Marvel. Sitting here I can’t
Imagine myself doing it, but you,
For you it was as natural as
Breathing.

I remember how you used to hug
Me so hard and growl like a bear;
Then I’d squeeze my arms around
You even harder which only made
You squeeze harder. I can almost
Feel your arms around me
Now.

In my last letter I wrote how I was
Proud to have you as my Grandfather.
You were the door for thousands
Of people and through which,
Jesus the Christ, the Most High
God entered into their hearts.
When I think of that and stand
Under the starry night I can’t help
But shout for joy. Shout with the
Stars and leap and dance and laugh.

The painting you had on the wall
Of your office at Kaiser was so
Appropriate. The hospital 15 stories
Tall with Jesus just as much standing
Outside it knocking. Yes, Grandpa,
The countless hands you held, the bed
Pans, the souls you brought
Water; “Whatever you’ve done for
The least of these you’ve done for
Me.”

And by now I’m sure you’ve heard
Enough of this sort of talk. You want
To know how my relationship with
Jesus is going. To which I have to say
The same thing I said in the last letter.
David’s prayer of “dwelling in the House
Of the LORD forever” is becoming very
Real to me and is one I pray lying on my
Bed in the mornings. It is a desire that
Has sprung from the same root as the
Other prayer I’ve been praying for close
To 20 years now: that I become David,
Beloved, a man after God’s own
Heart.

This prayer is a gift I’ve inherited from
You. Just as sins are passed down through
Generations so are acts of righteousness.
And the example you set is a high one indeed.
Last Thanksgiving I celebrated with Colleen
And Dick and Stephen. As I walked into
Their home I set my things down and stood
Facing them in their kitchen. Their canary,
Harvey, was sitting on Dick’s shoulder eating
Peanuts. The next thing I knew he flew
Towards me and landed on my head.

“It’s an omen,” Colleen said. I couldn’t help
but think of the Spirit of God descending on
Jesus as a dove when John the Baptist baptized
Him.
There have been numerous other times but
This is one of the more overt circumstances
In which I have felt marked.


What a strange thing it is Grandpa that you
Are dead. That there is a fresh-cut granite
Stone with your name on it is beyond me.
I know this is naïve; but I always thought we’d
All blow up or Jesus would come back or some-
Thing; but not you die and the rest of us be
Left to fend and pray for ourselves. Now
I have an inkling what the disciples felt like
When Jesus left them for the last time to
Carry on the work he began.

Thank you, Grandpa.

I love you.

November, 1990