James Christian Roth.
To some, his was a name well-known in Mennonite circles.
To some, he was the friendly owner of a little secondhand store in Woodburn.
To some, he was a dedicated pastor and a wise mentor.
To some, he was a well-beloved missionary and brother in Christ.
To some, he was a faithful friend.
To many, he was a kind and gentle man, one who took time for others, one who gave selflessly, one who was wise and understanding. A man who knew and loved God.
But to me, he was my grandpa. And I miss him.
When I think of my grandpa, I don't think so much of the things that he was. I think of the things that he did.
I think of family outing upon family outing, of hikes and picnics and waterfalls. I think of trips to the coast, sometimes with the whole family, sometimes with just us four youngest grandchildren.
I think of meals at Grandpa and Grandma's house for Christmas and Thanksgiving and many times between. I think of Grandpa reading "The Bear Story" afterward. I think of how it always made us laugh, and I wish I could hear it again. I wish Eric could hear it. I wish he could have known my grandpa when he was well. I remember one time after we were married when we took supper to Grandpa and Grandma, and by then Grandpa didn't usually have a lot to say, but Eric started asking him questions about long-ago days, and Grandpa talked and talked. That was so special to me, and I wish now that we would have done it more often.
I think of Grandpa's books, of his rock and shell collections. I think of playing Carem and Jenga with him. I think of a simple life, of singing, of finding joy in small things.
I think of picnics and croquet in Grandpa and Grandma's backyard. We would all congregate there . . . us and Tia and Karina and Grandpa's . . . and later on, the same mix with Tio and in-laws and great-grandchildren added in. I think of Grandpa's house, and I think of family.Our family has a hole now. It's a hole that's been there ever since Grandpa got sick, but it's more final now. We all loved him, and we all miss him. But he's in heaven now, and he's with Jesus, and I know he wants to see us all there.
I think of him now, and I wonder if he's singing, and I wish I could hear his voice again. I think of the many ways in which his life was well-spent and well-lived, and I think of how he brought God glory, and I wonder how big the crown was that he cast before Jesus' feet. And as I think of him, I thank God for letting us have our grandpa for as long as we did. We were so blessed.
We are so blessed.
There's so many pictures I could post, and as usual I'll probably get carried away, but pictures carry memories, and though they open up sadness, they also help alleviate it . . .
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Grandpa and Grandma were very much a team. They worked together, laughed together, and showed us what a godly, happy marriage was like. Only two (and then four) people got the privilege of calling Grandpa "Dad." 🙂And then there were those of us who called him "Grandpa."
Family was important to Grandpa. His calling was to both his family and his church, but I don't think he neglected one in favor of the other. He and Grandma showed us how "to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly" with our God. Grandpa baptized most of us grandchildren, and though he wasn't able to officiate at all of our weddings, he and Grandma were still there in the background, watching as their children and grandchildren followed in their steps.Grandpa and Grandma spent a lot of time with us. Sometimes it was just an evening in their backyard . . .Sometimes it was a meal together . . . Sometimes it was a well-planned family outing . . . Grandpa loved to hike and go to the beach. Grandpa took time for the little things, be it little people, a random game of horseshoes, counting rings on a tree stump, or bringing out his binoculars to show us something.Grandpa taught us a lot, not so much by words as by actions, and even though he's gone now, we can still follow in his steps as he followed in Christ's.
So goodbye for now, Grandpa . . . I love to think of you well and whole again.
Memories are precious, and if you have any of my grandpa that you'd like to share, please do so. I'd love to hear them.