Right now, as I write this post, my grandfather’s very long life is slowly waning. His name is Ed McGuire, and he has been a pillar of faith in my life. When I was wayward and feasting with the swine, he was on his knees for my life. When I was in need of encouragement he reminded me that I can be anything that I put my mind to. When I was afraid of my inadequacies, he was the gentle reminder that my life is not my own. The most paramount realization that I have had about my grandfather happened around six years ago. We had taken a trip to Sioux Falls to have a family reunion, and most of our family was gathered in many different homes and hotels around the city. Robert and I were traveling with three of our children so my grandparents insisted on us staying in their home, which was my mother’s childhood home.
A beautiful thing happened the first morning I awoke in my mother’s childhood home. I realized as I stumbled to the kitchen around 6:15 that my grandfather had been up and out of the house and was just returning home to fix breakfast for us. As he put the coffee on I absentmindedly asked where he had been that morning. His answer has impacted my life more than any other conversation I have ever had. He explained that at their church there is always someone praying every hour of the day. That morning he had been praying as he does every morning, from four to six o’clock. He then unrolled what looked like a mini scroll with hundreds of names on it. He explained that he barely had enough time to get through each name on his list, and how he wished that he had just one more hour to pray for his loved ones.
On that list I saw my name and many names later were my children’s names, and my ex followed by Robert’s name. My grandfather saw that I recognized both names, and he apologetically and humbly explained that once he adds a name he does not remove it. He later apologized to Robert for having George (my ex) before him in his prayer list. He explained that he is aware of the struggles with addiction that George faces and expressed that he feels that George needs prayers more than we realize, even though he had abandoned his family. I found his prayer time as a whole to be utterly enchanting. To be so devoted to prayer, to carry a name and pray with such love that would span decades and relationships. What an amazing gift he had been silently giving to us all. What a treasure it was that my grandfather, whom many in my family call a stoic man, was sharing such heart and passion and beauty with me.