Almost every Sunday morning, for the last ten years, I've met folks at the door of a little church in the Ozarks. Rain or shine, I stand at the door of that little church, and offer my hand. Not that there’s any reason for folks to take my hand; in my mind, while I’m at the door of that little church, it’s not my hand I offer, but the hand of Christ. Some folks take it; some turn away, but I offer it just the same. It’s offered by way of an Invitation, but it’s not my Invitation.
My Granddad Daniels loved me unconditionally.
Even as a toddler, I could tell.
Even when I did my drawers or pulled the kitty’s tail,
I knew my Granddad Daniels loved me well.
His was the smile I counted on.
His approval trumped any sorrow.
My darkest clouds were silver lined;
I’d see Granddad tomorrow.
His the delight on Christmas night
That gave the season joy,
In my mind his smile outshined
All other gifts and toys.
At holiday dinners or fire lit camps,
His zest for life shone through.
His childlike spirit incited mine;
Because of his faith, mine grew.
In ’69, we’d been away.
We returned to a note on our door.
My Granddad Daniels had passed away.
I’d see his smile no more.
It wasn’t like the God I knew
To treat our family so.
It wasn’t like the life I’d known,
To deliver such a blow.
What in life could bear the price
Of Granddad’s empty chair?
I saw no purpose for my life,
Without my Granddad there.
Life went on, the seasons passed,
New relationships brought new joy,
But none replace the special place
Of my Granddad and his boy.
That was many years ago.
Decades have brought me here.
My Granddad’s pale, white whiskered face
Now greets me from my mirror.
Still today, I miss him,
As I strive to take his place.
I pray that when folks glimpse my smile,
They see my Granddad’s face.
I know you’ve suffered losses too.
You too have searched for grace.
And I know you have no earthly cause
To accept this strange embrace.
But I’d like to offer Granddad’s gift,
Of unconditional love,
The Gift the Savior brings us
From His Father up above.
We’re called to love each other now,
While the good Lord grants us time.
And I can’t replace the love you’ve lost,
But I humbly offer mine.
Shannon Thomas Casebeer