A woman at church Sunday was concerned about her mother’s dementia. Something she said made me think of my grandfather and his struggle with the condition.
But my thoughts of him didn’t camp there. I began to think of him in all lot of different ways.
The way a visiting pastor smiled when he spoke to me looked so very familiar. Only later did I realize it reminded me of Granddaddy, even though it wasn’t accompanied by my grandfather’s “Mmm-hmm” I miss so often.
Interestingly enough, that man is part of a church called Crump Chapel. Crump was my grandfather’s middle name, the surname of one of his forebears.
As the pastor preached on Exodus 14, he talked about God’s angel standing between the Israelites and the Egyptians, protecting them from the pharaoh’s army. I pictured this very literally, and again thought of my grandfather — this time standing between me and a barking dog, me hiding behind his leg and him — unafraid — shielding me from any potential harm.
You know what’s odd about all this, though? Each time I thought of Granddaddy, of his illness, smile, name and presence, it did not consciously strike me that I’d thought of him often that morning.
As church ended and I patted my pockets for keys, phone, etc., I felt the outline of a folding knife in my pocket. It’s certainly not unusual for me to carry a knife — I don’t feel completely dressed if I don’t have one. But it’s weight and shape were not what I was accustomed to.
I checked and then remembered. When choosing my everyday carry blade for the day, I had not picked any of the ones I typically do. Instead, I had pocketed the brown-handled Barlow that I bought at an antique store specifically because it reminded me of one my grandfather had.
It seems he was on my mind all day.
What does it mean? It could mean a thousand things for a thousand people.
But for me, today, right now, it means one thing in particular.
It’s the same thing God was saying to me when I found an old but still good boat drain plug in my yard a couple of months back, and then realized the used boat I bought a couple of weeks ago was missing its drain plug.
If God can provide ahead of time for a need I don’t yet know I have, and if He cares about even the things as ultimately insignificant as a drain plug, then oh how He can provide for me and cares about me in everything.
I don’t know how to explain it — how I know one thing connects to the other, my grandfather, a plug and God’s goodness. (My grandfather enjoyed plug tobacco, too, by the way.)
But it does.
Brett Campbell can be reached at [email protected].