After grandma’s passing, on February 5, 1984, it was hard to believe that three months later grandpa (our nickname for him was Papaw) would be graduating (as he always put it) into heaven, as well. Oh, he loved the Lord, with all his heart, there was no doubt about that! He was loving, caring and most of all, humble. I lived just down the street from Papaw, in the quaint little town of Angels Wings, Indiana. As I stood at his tombstone, in Rose Haven Cemetery, I was admiring the beautiful landscaping there, thinking that it was nothing close to what heaven would be.
I began to reminisce over the great memories I would always have of him. Remembering the countless times, he would tell us, “Jesus will always love you, no matter how bad you think you’ve been.” He continued by telling us, “He died on the Calv’ry Cross, so that you and He could be friends forever. That can only happen when you ask Him to come into your heart.”
After that story, Jesus’ love was always on my mind. I just could not wrap my mind around the thought of how someone could love me, without me doing anything to earn it, in any way. Especially Jesus Christ, God’s Son! At that time, I was 5 years old and the following Sunday, I gave my heart to the Lord. From that point on, each story Papaw shared, drew me even closer to Jesus.
Now with one week left before my high school graduation, I knew it had been a long time coming, but I was more than ready for it! Although I did want my Papaw to be there, I did not know if his frail body could make it.
The day before Papaw graduated, we briefly talked about my upcoming commencement. Not knowing these would be my final words with him, I said, “Papaw, I wish you could be there, tomorrow, but I will understand if you’re unable to make it.” Smiling, he then replied in his weak voice, “I will be there one way or the other!”
As my name was called, I began to walk across the stage. Such an indescribable peace and joy came over my spirit. Knowing, in my heart, that my Papaw had now had his final commencement into heaven, a tear slowly trickled down my cheek. Upon receiving my diploma, with a smile, I raised it upwards, declaring in my mind, Congratulations Papaw, you have now graduated into heaven!
Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.