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How do you want to be remembered?

There it was on the center of the stage, a lunch pail, just like the one my Grandpa used to carry. It was a sermon illustration, though I have to confess, I have no recollection of what it was illustrating or even the sermon that day. I was flooded with memories of my Grandpa.

He was a tall, rugged, weathered man. Farming hadn’t worked out for Grandpa. Some maybe looked down on him for that. He and Grandma had to move to a tiny little house in town. To say it was two bedrooms seems to be a stretch since the “bedrooms” were not adequate to be most people’s closets today. Grandpa and Grandma were like my surrogate parents and I loved it there and I loved them. I especially loved playing with their cute little neighbor girl, Rhonda Cleveringa (now Moss).

They were hardworking people. Grandpa was a block mason, and I loved to watch him ply his craft on the new houses being built in my neighborhood. He was certainly part of my calling to make my life’s work as an architect. Grandma was a cook at Marv’s Lunch, a place that holds its own special memories. Cancer took her very young.

Do you know how physically demanding it is to be a block mason? Trust me, Grandpa is the only one I ever saw still lifting those blocks into his late 60’s. For all his hard luck and hard work, I never heard my Grandpa complain. I never heard him utter a negative thought or a criticism. He was a quiet, humble man.

By all earthly standards he lived a life of obscurity. He may not have had a big impact on the world, but he had a huge impact on my world.

So here I was sitting in church flooded with memories of Grandpa. What I didn’t mention earlier is that this was the morning after we had watched our own Grandtwins, Bode and Harper for 8 days. My immediate thought was how will Bode and Harper remember me?

By comparison to Grandpa, I’ve lived my life in the limelight. Other than a very brief time in my 20’s when we shared an apartment with cockroaches, and I didn’t have the funds to buy groceries, we’ve lacked for nothing. While some mistake me for quiet, I usually have plenty to say, and I doubt many would mistake me for humble. I’ve been blessed with good fortune, yet I occasionally find reason to complain or criticize.

Bode and Harper are still young. They won’t remember me for what I’ve accomplished, a building I designed, where I’ve traveled, how nice my house is or my bank account. I’m thankful for that lunch box that reminded me to get to work and build something really important, an impression on my grandchildren. What will be my lunchbox?

How do you want to be remembered?

Proverbs 22:1-2 Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold. The rich and poor have this in common: The Lord made them both.

Ephesians 4:2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

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