Monday, February 11, 2008

Grandpa MiIls' Step Stool

This little stool has been a vital part of our home for years. It has been repainted, recovered, and reinforced throughout the years. I think we've had it 24 of our soon to be 25 years of marriage. This weekend it began to sag in what appears to be beyond life-saving measures. Since my "Mr. Fix-It" skills are pretty much limited to painting and yard work I'm pretty sure it could be time to say goodbye to this old family friend. You say, "Monty, it's just a stool, let it go." I can't.

It's not about the stool, we've got a couple of nicer and sturdier stools. It's what the stool represents. You see a godly man who was everything you think a Grandfather should be built it from scratch. Teri's Grandpa Mills (affectionately known as Gramps) made this stool for us many, many years ago. Now there was a handy-man! He was a gentleman and a gentle man. I can close my eyes right now, smell his pipe and see him holding our son on his knee on the back porch of their home in northern Indiana. Both Grandpa and Grandma Mills have long sense gone to heaven. He went ahead of her to prepare the way. People of faith can look forward to heaven!

You can have our new LCD television. You could take my car, but don't you dare touch Gramp's step stool! There's a lot behind that old stool: Honest character; hard work; a man who survived the depression, raised two sons who served their country and went on to be godly husbands, fathers and men of profound faith; and someone who quietly contributed to society by helping others, serving through his church, voting, and genuinely caring about people. I miss that old gentleman, like I do my Papa.

The ailing stool points to something I don't want to lose. A simpler time when life was less complicated by technology, global warming, political and civil unrest, terrorism and complex lifestyles that seem to be flying at record speeds. That stool represents a back porch and a workshop where hands of love touched the lives around them. It speaks of unconditional love when some of us just made mistakes or exercised poor judgment. It reminds me of a time at Mom and Dad's old house on the lake when I saw that precious old man get as excited as his great-grandson (our son) who had just caught his first fish with his grandfather, my father-in-law and Gramps' oldest son.

I owe Gram and Gramps' so much. Because of them, my precious wife, God's gift came to be! I close my eyes and I can see both of our parents living out that same kind of love, character, honesty and faith before our children over these fast-flying years. I am indeed grateful and blessed because of them. I'm not going to get rid of that stool. I'll wait for my son, who has inherited Gramps and Dad Mills' "fix-it" DNA and trust that he can bring it back to life because one day it's going to be his.

So what are the step-stools in your life? Those little things that appear worthless to the world that remind you of a simpler time, people of their word, devotion to Christ and His church and unconditional love? Is it a picture, a frame, an old car, tools, a fishing rod, a sewing basket or chair? Don't get rid of it. It seems now more than ever we need to be reminded of these things so we may pass them on to future generations. Some of life's greatest treasures are as junk to the world.

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