It was just one of those mornings. As I was leaving to go to work and locking the door behind me, before I could say, "Thank God it's Friday," I closed the door and realized in horror that I had just locked my keys in my house.
My dad was already teaching his first period class and my mom had just left for Bible study. So I quickly called her to ask if we had a hide-a-key somewhere outside of the house, to which she said no. But your grandpa might have a copy of our house key, she offered hopefully. When I called him up, sure enough, he had one and said he would be right over. In less than five minutes, I saw his bright red Chevy pick-up pull around the corner, and after a hug, my grandpa handed me the house key so I could run inside the house and grab my own keys.
Funny how I didn't even expect to see my grandpa that day, even though he lives just a few blocks away. Mind you, this is my father's father, not the husband of my Grandma Grace (my mother's mother) who recently passed away. I realized that if I hadn't locked my keys in the house that morning, I wouldn't have had the chance to get a hug from my grandpa that morning or hear his chuckle as he told me how his mischevious dog brought a possum into the house the night before.
Driving to work, I thought about how I might not have a lot of time left with my grandparents. I would never have expected my Grandma Grace to contract the illness that she did that caused her time here to be much shorter than it could have been. I thought about how thankful I was to see my Grandpa Chuck that morning, how grateful I am to be his granddaughter, to share a love of music and poetry with him (he, like me, loves to write poetry), and to go to live theater and concerts with him. He once took me to see a play/concert celebrating the music of Irving Berlin, just the two of us (I was the youngest person in that theater by at least 25 years), and it was such an wonderful time.
I love my grandparents. Upon my grandma's passing away I realized that I had, if you will, no regrets. I mean I am thankful to have spent so much incredible time with that precious lady, really getting to know her, all about her. There is always so much to know about a person, but I had the privilege of developing not only a solid grandmother/daughter relationship, but a genuine friendship. I realize that I want/have wanted the same with all of my grandparents. I want to go to more concerts and write more poetry with my Grandpa Chuck, go to Barnes and Noble to geek out over books a hundred more times with my Grandma Maggie, and melt in the tender hugs of my so much more vulnerable Grandpa Tony. The world might see them as outdated, out of touch, or perhaps a bit too smothering, but no matter what they say, grandparents are truly such precious people.
I encourage you if you have family, no matter how immediate or distant, old or young that you feel you don't know all that well, please take the time to. You have no idea how much time you have left with them on this earth. And you have no idea how much of a gift they can be in your life. To know people -- really know them -- is a joy given to us by God. Friendship is a beautiful thing, beyond what words can express. Think of how many people God has placed in your life, in your family, your school, your workplace, your church -- think of how many opportunities are knocking on your front door to explore the depths of someone's soul and often find it is much like your own.
Pay a visit to your grandfather or grandmother. Make a phone call to a parent you maybe haven't talked to in a long while. Get to know that customer who comes in twice a week. Sit next to that student in the back corner and grab a coffee with them after class. It'll mean the world to them and may just end up changing your own world entirely.
And whether it's locking your keys in the car or stalling on the side of the road like my brother did later that night, take advantage of opportunities you have for your world to collide with that of your grandfather or the tow-truck driver who comes to your rescue. God may be offering you a hidden blessing.