Sara's Grandpa Goldsmith passed away last spring. Today is his birthday. Last February, a few months before he died, I typed up some memories of him and Grandma (who died in 2001). What follows is some of what I wrote.
I have enjoyed Grandpa Goldsmith. When Grandma was still alive, Sara and I had some good times with them. They would come and visit us in Mundelein and in Fox Lake, and they would take us to eat, and we would play Rummy Cub, and they would go to church with us, and they would take Sara shopping.
And we would also go and visit them. I loved going to visit them in Wauseon, at their old farmhouse. We would stay upstairs in the first bedroom and have that big bathroom with only a bathtub (no shower) to ourselves. Of course, we would play Rummy Cub, and Sara would go with her Grandma on Saturdays when she got her hair done. They would buy sticky buns for breakfast. We would watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune in the evening. Grandma thought I should be on the show. (But Grandmas typically think those kinds of things.) They would take us out to eat. Grandpa would take me to the hardware or to visit one of his brothers. He would take me out in his enormous garage and show us his latest project or what stuff he was storing for other people. Sometimes we four would sit around the kitchen table and talk politics and religion and local news and family news.
Their humor and mannerisms were priceless. Grandma's pointing forefinger when she was making a point. Grandpa's motionless stare and his narrowly opened mouth when he was waiting for what humorous thing he had just said to register with Grandma. Grandma telling us a story with a gesturing hand and a focused expression. Grandpa telling us a story with a big smile and hands clasped behind his head. Good times.
Why did we love to be with these two people so much? They were not tall or especially noticeable. Easily overlooked in a crowd. Unless you knew them. But even more than knew them. Unless you were especially loved by them. We loved them because they loved us. Boy, did they love us! They enjoyed us, prayed for us, generously gave to us. There's no way we would overlook them in a crowd. These were two special people, whose lives, by God's providence, had intersected mine. And what a blessing for me. And what a blessing for Sara, their oldest grandchild. Sara has always had fond memories of her grandparents, even from when she was little. I've heard many stories (though I don't remember half of them).
Grandma died a few years ago. My memory is not good, but I can still picture her very well. Her image is with me. And now Grandpa may be leaving soon as well.
Death comes as the end. But because of Jesus, death is not really the end. It's the end of some things, but it's not the ultimate end it once was. For Grandma, and probably soon for Grandpa, it's no more than a doorway. He'll step through from this life into eternity, and what a step that will be. Into the presence of the Lord of all, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Then this downhill slide that he has endured the last several years will be dramatically arrested.
Inwardly he has been renewed day by day. Outwardly he has been wasting away. Soon the outward will be completely wasted away, and the inward will shine forth in great glory. The outward will be burned away and the life of Harley Goldsmith hidden with Christ won't be so hidden anymore, and he will be one step closer to realizing the full glory that will be his because of what Jesus has done; he will be one step closer to that grand resurrection body.
We will be sad. We have to wait before we can see him again. We will miss him. But we will have good memories. And, even more significant, we will have bright hope, the sure knowledge that, if we persevere in clinging to Christ, we will see him and Grandma again--redeemed, restored, alive, laughing and smiling.