"A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure."
~Ecclesiastes 7: 1-4
I'm just a couple days away from making one of the hardest trips of my life, traveling back home to quite possibly say goodbye to both my grandfathers.
Papaw has had a hard fight for a long time now, battling COPD and emphysema for every breath. Grandpa's fight has been more recent and less obvious, but he now fights against the cancer in his esophagus just to be able to swallow his liquid diet. They have both always been amazing, strong men, and it makes my heart hurt to see their bodies turning on them.
I'm broken over the thought of losing them, but I'm also reminded of how incredibly blessed I have been to have these two men in my life for almost 30 years now.
They are both Army vets, men who gave of themselves for God and country. They are also both horsemen, though their approaches couldn't be much more different. For me, though, what I'm most thankful for is the commitment they both have always had to their families. They are both men with strong arms and rough hands, proof of the years they spent sacrificing their own comforts for their families.
I have learned so much from these two men, and some of my best and worst qualities can be traced back to them:
my love of horses
my sense of honor
my dedication to my family
my enjoyment of a good story
my pride in my work
my appreciation for good workmanship
my love of travel
my love of home
my addiction to Dr. Pepper
my reliance on God
Proverbs 22:1 says, "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold."
Neither of my grandfathers will leave this world with a lot of gold or silver in their pockets. They will, however, leave a legacy I am proud to be part of, names esteemed by those who know them-- and that is worth so much more.
"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever."