Friday, February 20, 2009
My Grandfather's Journals
I never knew where my love of journaling came from until recently. It turns out that the only other person in my family who we know journaled was my grandfather Graham. He was my mother's father...yes the one who orphaned her when she was barely a toddler...stories of him from several different people have portrayed him as quite an ungodly man.
I spent January engrossed in them, living in 1927 and then the last of the 30's and early 40's. We have about 12 years of his life recorded. They have been amazing to me for many reasons, but one is that we never knew this man and my mother's memories of him are not good. He is a complete stranger to me, yet I feel like I have gotten a chance to know him. Yes, he certainly had a dark side, but there was also a side that struggled with a relationship with Christ.
As I have read them I have "watched" the progression of a man home from the war, newly married with his first baby, making a place for himself, to one who allowed bitterness and several different women to lead him along a path of many frustrations. A man of gritty determination given to long hours of work, yet one who at times prayed nightly with his family. A man of great worldly success but little success with demonstrating love for his children. From his determination to buy a new Ford and teach himself how to drive and care for it to the man who wrote the letter to the local orphanage asking them to take my mom who he couldn't figure out how to care for...from his work as an engineer and politician to his being a man who fancied women to the point of being a doormat as they used him for his money...from his being a man of the world and all it could offer to the man who wrestled with the offers of God.
Through these journals I have been given the only picture of my amazing grandmother Pearl I have ever seen. A copy of an old black and white, with her head turned a little to the side. She was diagnosed with a "female" cancer when she was 39 and pregnant with my mom. She died when she was 42. Her life was a legacy that is still talked about in her hometown...not who she was in a worldly sense, but who she was in Christ. God's love was so alive in her life that whenever anyone mentions her name it is not without a testimony of her walk with God. As far as I know she did not journal...her life was an open book in and of itself.
My twin stayed with me this week and saw the picture for the first time. Young, blond, the picture of health sitting in front of the boarding house they owned with 5 small children (my mom wasn't born yet). I have heard my mom looked just like her and that I look just like my mom. Susie and I have had many great discussions about their lives, our legacies. Thoughts of Pearl and Nelson have played in the shadows of my mind all this week.
These journals have changed the way I am journaling and have compelled Susie to start journaling more. After reading Upsidedown B's post a little while ago, I have to agree with her. We are little history makers and how awesome for our children to know that God was the most important part of our stories... His Story. It has been exciting to not only read about the daily life of my grandfather, but also to know that God was a part of his story...my grandmother did not live to see it, (no mention of him seeking God until after Pearl died) but her prayers have long outlived her. At least now I have hope that his soul was at peace with God when he died where before there was none.