Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Grandaddy Miller

My Grandfather died this last week, and so we travelled to Nashville to lay him to rest. I think that's an appropriate term for this particular man - as he continued his life's work until he couldn't possibly continue it anymore. My granddad taught Hebrew and Psalms for 25+ years at Lipscomb University, & authored some biblical commentaries among other things. After after completing the studies towards his PhD at the Hebrew Union in Ohio, he was never awarded the doctorate he'd earned... ultimately because he wouldn't compromise his convictions about Christ in his thesis. As we went through his email, we noticed that his latest work was sent just about 3 weeks before he died - he was working on an online commentary on the book of Isaiah at the request of someone else, and had finished another chapter. Lots was said at the funeral about him- things I hadn't realized about him and some of his accomplishments. (When someone's your granddad - you don't always think to ask such things as he's important to you for other reasons.....) :-) My appreciation grew even more from meeting people who knew him differently than I did.

Eli really took in this reality more than he could before. As we walked into the same house we've been walking into all of his life, he noticed that it wasn't the same. Granddaddy's chair sat there, but others sat in it, and that seemed weird. His walker stood in the corner. His desk and library still looked as if he could come in any minute and sit down to study or write. His razor sat on the counter in the bathroom. We wouldn't want any of those things gone, but they didn't help us believe that he was.
The house was filled so as we left the first day to head to a relative's place, Eli was somber. I asked what he was thinking.
"It's just so sad. It's just not the same without him there. All I could think about was that it wasn't the same and it won't ever be the same."
We all got teary at the truthfulness of that statement.
Except Julia.
"Well," she said, " All I could think about was ALL THAT FOOD!!"
We burst out laughing, (because indeed, there was a LOT of food!). And Eli once again so simply embraced another profound truth.
"I didn't think I would smile at that," he said awkwardly with tears still in his eyes. "But I did." :-)

Death has it's sting. But Christ is victory, and my Grandad fully embraced Christ.

The night following his funeral, I overheard Eli praying. He said, "... God, most of the time people spend their whole life trying to make the world think that they are somebody important. But Granddaddy Miller spent his whole life trying to help the world see that You are important."

This was the absolute truth. He accomplished the goal of his life among his family and many others.
And now, his generations that follow are attempting to do the same.

A passage from his favorite Psalm of all...
"But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children's children- with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts....Psalm 103: 17-18



Tammy said...

Wow...and wow! What insight! I love you!

Jenny - Jenny White Photography said...

i have no words heather....i am speechless. thank you for sharing what you did. your son is absolutely amazing and one of the most Godly people I have ever known. Your family is such a blessing to everyone around you and it is obvious from this story that it has been that way for years and it will continue to be that way with your children and their children. Thank you.

Jeff Rader said...

I have been relaing your posts on alumni.sibi.cc and wanted to let you know that there is a comment on there for this post.
Also, Leah and I have enjoyed reading up on your family as well. Leah's been starting to blog - http://cherishedadventurer.blogspot.com/
Someday we will have to come up to Tulsa and see all of our friends up there.

James and Andrea said...

I'm sorry that you lost such a dear man, but what an amazing trubute for a man who served God all his life. We recently lost my grandmother who humbled herself and received salvation in baptism a little under two weeks before she died of pancreatic cancer. So many rejoiced with us after 30 years of praying for her. I got to be with her in the last week before we lost her and was amazed at the transformation of her heart. Your grandfather and my grandmother had completely different approaches to life, but in their death God was glorified. I pray that in my death, God will get the glory too.


Debby said...


I was so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved grandfather. What a godly man he must have been! I've no doubt he felt blessed to have left you and yours as a "living legacy" to the God he served for so much of his life.

Eli's insights continue to amaze me. He easily grasped a reality that often aludes most adults. I'm so happy he feels so "at home" with the things of God.

Hugs to you,