Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's come to this ...

One minute everything's normal, then the sun goes behind a cloud and

suddenly everything's a little out of reach.

Oh despised glasses, bane of my childhood, you're the only hope I have to cling to this afternoon ...

Talking about glasses but thinking about "Gumba", my Mum's father, who died this day in 1977. It was just a normal day ... I was on school holiday, sitting in one of my Dad's classes, when my brother came running in with the telegram and the news.

And the sun went behind a cloud.

It was a very big cloud, because Gumba brought a very big light into my life. He was the one who would make me try to do cartwheels because my utter lack of coordination would make this military son howl with laughter. He was the one who would tell me that I would have to put a little salt on the tail of a bird in order to catch it ... and - despite my terror of birds - I would try because it would make him chuckle. 

He is the one who would punish me quite deservedly, but then buy me a Five-Star chocolate bar because he felt such great remorse at hurting his girl.

He is the one who would buy fruit by the basket, shout out at someone for being a "silly coot" when they exhibited horrible driving, take me for walks before his breakfast, dance with my Nana in our living room and rub his prickly moustache against her cheek to make her squeal and us little girls giggle. He taught me how to play Scrabble and I was privileged to witness epic battles waged between him and Nana over what was a word (she was usually right).

He was the one who did not complain when he was in pain. He was the one who loved me just as I was. He introduced me to " little Chrissie" [Evert] and test matches and big ideas.

He's the one who would pray for the peace of Jerusalem every single day.

And he would pray that my poor eyes would be healed, that I wouldn't have to wear glasses. We would walk out together on the Lamb's Rock Road in Coonoor, and he would make me remove my glasses and tell him how far I could see this day. He was sure it was a little bit farther each time ...

He was the one who offered me his nitro pills when I told him my heart ached over some boy or other.

He taught me how to love life by loving life himself.

And he was the one who, on the eve of his death, said to my Nana, "Don't wait until I'm dead to bring me flowers ..."  - one of the statements that has had a profound impact on my whole life as I realize that NOW is the time to tell someone you love them, to say something kind, to do something for them, just because.

At his funeral we sang, "We're marching to Zion", and I could just picture him marching briskly along, swinging his cane - which now has its home in my little TH - looking eagerly ahead for his first glimpse of his Lord jesus.

He was a brave, godly, principled, gallant man.

I adored him. I still do. Now I see none too clearly through my little green glasses; but one day I will see him face to face again.

And on that day, I'll be able to do a perfect cartwheel.

Gumba's cane hanging in the entrance to the TH

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