GRANDPA TOM married Grandma Hazel on October 26, 1929. The stock market crashed on October 29. Grandpa always said that the crash didn’t matter much to them – they had spent all their money getting married three days before. But it did mean that times were hard as they began their marriage.
They lived with Grandpa’s dad, raised chickens, and farmed as they could in the midst of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Grandpa traveled to find whatever work he could find, serving as a carpenter and laborer on construction crews. In 1939 he worked 23 weeks and made $700.
Grandpa’s life was filled with hard times: from his family’s immigration to America to his poverty in Oklahoma to the dashed dreams of his vocation because of discrimination. He lived a life of love and grace, remaining positive in the face of disappointment.
After Grandma died, he continued to live at home. In his 90s, he took in his younger sister, Eileen, when she could no longer live alone, and they shared his house until she passed away. He lived until the age of 98 and died at home.
Grandpa trusted in God’s presence in the midst of struggles. He accepted the hardships of life without sinking into despair. When a tornado blew away the chicken house, he rebuilt it. When the KKK made sure he didn’t get a teaching job, he worked the carpenter trade he had learned from his father. When Grandma died of a heart attack, he kept living: planting, harvesting, greeting at church, attending football games, telling stories, loving his family.
Grandpa lived fully, with love and grace, until he died. That is the hope I have for my life: That I will face the challenges that come my way and live fully, trusting God in love and in grace.
– Beth A. Richardson
Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me
From page 80 of Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings by Beth A. Richardson. Copyright © 2016 by Beth A. Richardson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Think about the challenges in your life. Do they look different when you remember God’s grace and love for you? Share your thoughts.
O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Psalm 95:1, NRSV
This Week: pray for Sunday school teachers. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.
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This week we remember: Patrick of Ireland (March 17).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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