Over on Gene Veith’s blog, he invited his commenters to share their memories of Christians they had in their lives who have since passed on. I decided to share my thoughts here instead.
There have been many faithful Christians who have had impacts on me in the last 36 years, but few more so than my Grandma Cook and by Grandpa Hitzeman.
My Grandma Cook, my mom’s mom, was one of the most important figures of my childhood. I spent some of every summer with my Grandparents Cook, and I spent a lot of time with my grandma during those visits. Some of my earliest memories of simple tasks like cooking, doing the dishes, and doing the laundry came from helping her, but even more important was the memory she left with me of her faith.
You see, my Grandma Cook is one of the only people I have ever known who I believe achieved as close to Jesus’ exhortation to have faith like a little child as any human can. My grandma loved Jesus, and that love filled her soul, her heart, and her life. Her love for Jesus touched everyone she knew and met, and I believe she left a little of that love with every one of us.
My grandma played the organ for her church, and sometimes on Sundays where at my own church when the accompanists play certain songs on both the piano and the organ, those moments transport me back to another age, sitting in the front at Fairview Church of God watching my grandma play and sing with all her heart. At those moments, I am sure that I am, in that way none of us can fully comprehend, in communion with Saint Lavida Cook, my grandmother and lover of Jesus.
Where my Grandma showed me how to love Jesus, my Grandpa Hitzeman, my dad’s dad, showed me how to be stalwart in my faith. In my memory, my grandpa was a quiet, unassuming Christian man who wanted everyone to hear the story of the Gospel and who was willing to use whatever God had given him to help achieve that purpose. Grandpa Hitzeman, in my earliest memories, taught me how to pray, instilled in me a love for our God’s house, and taught me that perseverance is one of the greatest traits any Christian can possess. Whether he knew it or not, my grandpa’s faith served as a lighthouse for me in some very dark times, even when I didn’t realize that was true.
Both my Grandma Cook and my Grandpa Hitzeman have since received their eternal reward, and I could never begrudge them what I hope to receive myself one day, yet I know that they are still with me in some way, as are all the saints, joined together in that communion that makes us all one body in Christ. I praise my God, the God they showed to me, that he blessed me by putting them in my life, and it is with joy that I anticipate the day when I will join them before the throne of the Lamb.