Wednesday, February 15, 2006

euel austin smith Euel Austin Smith December 15, 1921 - February 12, 2006 Euel Austin Smith was my grandfather (my mother's father). While sitting on a beach in south Taiwan, I found out my grandfather died (cell phones are amazing). I was alone. I know that my grandfather was not there anymore. And, I know that I had already told him goodbye. But funerals are for the living--to remember, to comfort, to be comforted. I knew this was a possibility when I first came to Taiwan . . . but I didn't know it was going to be this hard. For nearly 28 years of my life, I have had four living grandparents. What a blessing! I am also blessed to have a rich godly heritage. I come from a multi-generational line of ancestors who believed in the power and truth of the Bible, trusted Christ as Savior, and worshiped God. And I am thankful, so thankful, for this incredible blessing. My grandfather was 84 years old. He and my grandmother were married for nearly 63 years. When they were juniors in high school, he had just moved to Friendship, Arkansas. My grandmother, seeing he was a handsome young man, was brave enough to ask him to sign her yearbook. He signed it, "I'd like to get to know you better." Ha! Did he ever!! :) My grandfather started a family line that includes four daughters, one son, thirteen grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. And what a great family it is too! I spent more time with my grandfather in the years right before I came to Taiwan, when he was in his late 70's and very early 80's, than I did as a child. I remember him as a man with a great sense of humor, who loved his wife, and who was very easy going. I remember once, when my sister and I were teenagers, he hid two giant eggs outside at Easter. We were too young to play with the others, but he had not forgotten us. Inside each egg was a little cash. But, what I remember most about that day was that it seemed to make him happy to make us happy. I remember going camping with him and grandma. That was the weekend I burned my pinkie finger on a cigarette lighter because I didn't know what one was. He took me swimming and fishing. And, at night before bed, all three of us read silently to ourselves--that left a big impression on me. Both of them highly valued and enjoyed reading. For the last few years, each time I left his home, I would go over to his chair to kiss his cheek and tell him goodbye. Each time he would tear a little and whisper in my ear "we are proud of you." Sometimes he would even kiss my cheek too. I read The Journey of Desire by John Eldredge this week. I did not expect to find in it words about death, but I did....

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