“Unless we die to self, we will never truly live.” The words on the gravestone smote asunder her last heart string as they buried her grandfather. The moment was bleak, but little did Catherine know that her grandpa would impact her one more time, despite already being with her grandma and the Lord.
The next day, the overcast sky gave way to a piercing blue which was so beautiful that the sun itself seemed to shine with tangible joyfulness. The grassy meadows and open fields seemed at the brink of bursting out into song. Catherine, twenty years old, drove through the South Dakotan countryside to her grandfather’s quaint home situated on rocky terrain. It was only a few days since the burial, but she felt like she had aged years on the inside. The world seemed joyful, but she was somber.
She pulled her Volvo 200 into the stone driveway and stepped out, facing the torrent of memories that rushed to her like a dog welcoming it’s master home. The brick house hadn’t changed one bit.
She was the only grandchild that was close enough to her elusive grandfather to actually go out to his countryside home. She unlocked the door with the ‘secret’ outside key, took off her coat, and slowly made her way through the small living space. She pushed open a ragged wooden door to the corner room titled, Study.
Behind the door was a small study with old wooden decor. The floor was covered in a dusty gray carpet with paths worn between the furniture by pacing. The walls were crowded with bookshelves, maps of the world, and an old brick fireplace. A wooden desk with jumbles of papers on it, an old hunting rifle propped up against the wall, and a black leather armchair all occupied wherever there was a spot for the furniture. Everything was laden with the smell of pipe smoke wafted into the furniture by hours of puzzling and pacing. Light was let in by an open window where the breeze also brashly found it’s way into the room, gusting papers from time to time.
The chronicled life of a missionary was laid bare before her. All the places he had been, all the adventures he had written down, all the workings of God he had been sure to record (down to the last little detail) all were encapsulated in this study. She loved hearing stories about grandpa and the different countries he’d been to. She loved hearing about the adventures of being a missionary, but she herself barely considered it, though from time to time it would come back to her like an old friend.
She didn’t know why exactly, but she simply began leafing through his journal. Surprisingly, her fingers found the page titled, in scratchy yet thoughtful penmanship, “Catherine.” The entry was as follows:
“To my Christ-following grand-daughter: i find myself looking back at my past with such feelings that paper and pen do no justice for. i have never regretted, nor will i ever regret, the path i have taken for the cause of Christ. The leather on my bible and on my passport are both cracked and wearied, and i myself am wearied by the years. But i love the Lord, and if he asked me to do it all over again, i would obey with all my heart. Trust and obey, there is no other way Catherine, no other way. The hourglass of life is nearly empty; the sands of time feel as if they’ve been sifted so quickly! my dear grand-daughter, there’s not much time left for you! follow Christ’s calling and, most assuredly, you will not regret it… ever.”
There was a gap in the page, and then a quote,
“Only one life t’will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”