Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 23: The Stuff of Amazement

Today is Sunday, and even though I'm getting to it late, I wanted to have my weekly inspirational post. Now, I originally was going to have a fun storyboard about weddings to wrap up this week, but after our weekend, I couldn't think of anything more inspirational than what I'm going to share with you.

Sometimes you hear the words, "they're an amazing person." Or, "They're really a good guy." But this weekend we celebrated the life of possibly the most amazing man I've ever known. Not just because he was my husband's sweet grandfather, and not even because he treated me like his own granddaughter, though, those things did make him wonderful. But, because, his story is one like I've never known, and their truly do not seem to be men like him anymore. And, as my father in law said at the memorial service, if he could even be half the man he was, than, he'd be doing pretty well.

The stories of Grandpop's life, are stories that sound almost made up. And words like "integrity" and "honor" almost feel too watered down to use for him.

Being born to a young couple who had recently stepped off a boat from Poland, meant that you didn't exactly have it made. Growing up outside of Philadelphia, he worked with his dad at the steel mill, after school to be able to help provide for the family. Losing his father at an early age, meant that he had to continue working at the mill for pennies an hour. He rode a horse to school, and then back home in the afternoon. In the cold Philadelphia winters, there were times when he and other boys would go down to the railroad and jump aboard moving trains just to knock a few handfuls of coal off the train cars, so that they wouldn't freeze to death. As he continued working and living in this small outside town of Philly, he met a pretty Polish girl, who with much persistence finally said yes to going out on a date with him. He fell in love, and as many stories go, was married before the war. Even though he was playing in the basketball league that became what we know as the NCAA, he went on and enlisted in the service to protect our country during WWII. He fought on a ship in the South Pacific for 3 years of excruciating combat...and in his own words said felt like a nightmare. Upon arriving home, he returned to work at the steel mill for 9 hours a day, then went to night school to get a degree. And oh yeah, while he literally built his 3 bedroom 1 bath house with his bare hands and simple hand tools. He stayed there the rest of his content as a millionaire in a mansion.

He was a man committed to doing things exceedingly well, and without an ounce of compromise. He was always faithful to his wife, loving to his children, and was always a man of character. This past January, he finally became complete.

He had always struggled with how a loving God could allow so much evil to persist in our world. Being exposed to what he had been, I can't blame him for a second for the struggle. He had always asked why, and wondered about faith. He was willing to wrestle with God. And, this past January, about 45 min. before he turned 91, he finally surrendered the match. He chose to give up his fight to understand it all, and simply believed the good news and received a good God into his heart and life.

The past few months were not easy for this sweet man, as he battled cancer til the end. But finally, after such a long journey, he is at rest. And now, he can fully see, even as he is fully known.

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12


  1. okay, this made me cry.
    inspiration and then some.

    willing to wrestle . how profoundly wonderful.

  2. Thanks for writing this, Melissa. Grandpop was indeed an amazing man. I already miss him immensely... :'(