Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Cowboy

Do you ever think about death? I don't normally, mostly because I'm so ADD that I cant finish anything I start so finishing life seems to be off the table, too. Anyway, death has made its way to my mind. Mostly because I have a grandpa (Grandpa Rice) who has been in and out of the hospital for a year or so and barring any unfortunate accidents will be the next family member to leave us. (hopefully its 10 years from know!)
My ministry is built on capturing moments and speaking into the lives of those who mean the most to you. Typically I would focus on teens and kids here because we have a responsibility to lead them and bless the goodness that we see in them. But there are end moments that deserve a measure of closure and kind of a last word. That end moment/last word has been haunting me when I think about my grandpa and what I'll say at his funeral.
Why is there a sense of urgency to fit-in a life's worth of meaning into the last few interactions with people? Because we missed so many along the way? or we think that we'll have another time, or plenty of time to address it? Sometimes i'm just afraid to speak to others when there are other people around, as if it is too uncomfortable for grandma to hear what I think grandpa's life meant to me.

I didn't intend for this post to be an obituary, or to even suggest that Grandpa is on his death bed cuz he is doing good. But now that the can is open...

Things I hope to tell my Grandpa Rice one day but to scared to say today...
You are one of the most positive influences in my life.
I learned about a hard days work from you.
I learned plenty of dirty jokes...some real humdingers too!
I heard you when you talked about how much of a hard worker I was to other men.
You never let a moment get too serious
You never let another man get the better of you.
You're a cowboy. Always had a gun and a dog by your side.
You have a steel will, to quit alcohol and cigarettes 'cold turkey' is amazing.
You let me work on your crane and the summers we spent together were the most amazing adventures of my young life. I cant thank you enough for bringing me along to share in your story.
I loved sharing "a grease burger" with you at Steak and Shake after a long days work at the yard.
You have the best, most contagious smile.
I love how you tell stories and the great experiences you've had. From small town country living, to working on the Alaskan pipeline to building and walking the steel on the skyscrapers of Michigan's grandest buildings, I love hearing about the pink Cadillac and seeing all of the pictures of you with your cowboy hat tilted a little to the side.

I hope one day my grandchildren will be as proud of me as I am proud of you. I couldn't be the man I am today without some credit going your way. Some guys called you the Marlboro Man, and others called you Ray-mo, I will always call you Grandpaw. And one day my grankids will hear about your great adventures and know the story of "The Cowboy".