Grandad’s Eyes

At first when I saw this photo my brother, Kevin, snapped during a recent family gathering, I was disappointed. Not a single one of my kids or their cousins is looking into the camera! They were on a “hayride” (minus the hay, but that didn’t seem to matter) and we stopped for a moment to let them check out a small pond.

My two brothers and their families live in suburban Chicago, as do my parents. We don’t often manage to get all 6 grandkids together, but the planets aligned over the weekend, and everyone was able to meet for a pre-Thanksgiving family gathering at the rural Illinois home of the remarkable man we know as “Grandad.”

My grandfather is a retired minister of a charming little church in a tiny town. But he’s always been more than a minister – he is a poet, philosopher, carpenter, and an incredibly gifted speaker in a soft-spoken, understated, down to earth “country” way. Growing up, I couldn’t help but put him on a pedestal, and I know I was far from alone. In fact, a woman at the church where he used to preach told me with a grin, “When my son was growing up he used to believe your Grandad was God! And come to think of it, I may have sometimes felt that way too.”

When I looked more closely at this photo, my eyes locked with Grandad’s eyes – still, calm, gazing straight into the lens with a little bit of melancholy, as if to show he is the only one in this frantic bunch capable of being still enough to realize how fleeting and precious these moments are. As my brothers and I fumbled with our cameras to capture a fun moment, Grandad’s eyes surely were seeing something much more beautiful.

I am going to keep this photo close, so that as my life swirls ever faster, I won’t forget to step back and gaze at it through the wise eyes of a grand man – my personal link to divinity.

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