As I type this, Stuart is trudging across the back yard to the shop in the pouring rain after a block of wood that I need for a project. He comes back in, dripping, and hands the wood to me with a smile.
A few days ago, in the restless moments between sleep and wake, I heard singing. "Ave Maria, gracia plena…” My grandfather was singing in a rich bass voice that moved gracefully between low and high notes. "Maria, gracia plena…” I heard traces of his Hungarian accent come through the words. "Maria, gracia plena..." The notes faded. I woke up completely and sat for a moment, missing my grandpa.
My grandfather sang these words,without accompaniment, at my wedding, nine days after his wife died. He soldiered through, his words floating clearly over the stillness in the church. To me, his singing remains the best memory of that day. It was fitting that he participated.
I think about my choice for a marriage partner from time to time. How did I know? How did I know to marry Stuart? I guess I had been looking for him since I was eight or nine. And how did I know what to look for? My grandfather taught me.
I spent a week each year with my grandparents. In those short weeks, I saw Grandpa fill Grandma’s gas tank. I saw him set out her medicines and wash the dishes. He watched out the window and waited for Grandma to return from the grocery store. When she did, he went out the door and carried in the groceries and parked the car in the garage. My young mind recognized that he loved with his actions and over time I realized that the man I would marry would have to love me like that. My grandpa mentored without a single word. I doubt he realized how these little things would impact his young grandaughter and his great grandchildren.
Visit Fruit in Season for more discussion on the impact mentors can have on a marriage.