Friday, October 26, 2007


Have you seen the leaves lately? I am constantly stunned by the beauty and how in their frailty, they are made magnificent. It reminded me of my grandpa and how I cam constantly stunned at the beauty that he shares with me and how he enriches my life.

Today I got 4 phone calls informing me of a single fact. "Grandpa had a massive heart attack last night. He's in the hospital. We think he'll be okay" was the gist of it. By the third voicemail in a row, I was near tears. It's just not something I was equipped to handle right then. I always assume that I wake up each morning and put on my armor as well as my makeup. But I learned today that that's not always the case, and I felt exposed, vulnerable, and ill-prepared.

My thoughts were inevitably turned to him today as I went about. I thought of our family home evening lesson on gratitude from Sunday night. My grandfather teared up as he expressed to us how grateful he is that we were a family relatively free of serious problems, how grateful he is that we love each other. He said in closing, "When times get tough, just remember: thank first." He is wise. Weathered from life and rolled smooth through the years, he has become such a source of wisdom. I compared him in my head to Lehi. He seemed that way to me. The giver of truth and knowledge. The giver of light.

Grandpa is a gardener, and as such, his practice is one of cultivating, nurturing and helping to grow. In a way, I think that all of us are products of his nurturing. I know that at least for me, he was integral in my process of becoming an artist. He still is. He cultivated creativity in me from the times when I was young and painted him dozens of pictures of flowers from the garden. Grandpa makes bonsai trees. He takes them when they're young and formative, tender and pliable and twists copper wires round their branches. When then grow, they become art, and the forms of their branches and roots make nature look like the ultimate sculptor. Granted, Grandpa has a hand in the process. When I was little I would wander around in the "Secret Garden" where Grandpa stores his bonsai tress under mounds of sawdust to save them from the frost of winter. I would dig little holes to get a glimpse of how they were doing. Most of the time, the were doing just fine. In his old age, he I wonder how he can possibly maintain the hundreds that he has created. But he refuses to sell them, worried that without his watchful care, they will wilt, die, or lose their splendor. They take constant tweaking and adjusting. Never has he produced a "finished product." I don't think it's possible to do so.

Grandpa is like the leaves I was passing today. In his prime, he was green, stuck strong to the branch of life. Now, as the seasons passed, he has become beautiful. Red stains of heartache and trials, golden moments of triumph, deep purples of passion...all these make up who he has become. Fragile, but in fragility and in moments before his season ends, he is closer to his God, more stalwart in his callings, more grateful, more compassionate, more creative, more curious, more learned, more teachable, more humble, more charitable, more repentive, more loving, more concerned, more understanding, more weathered, more eroded, more feeble, more knowledgeable, more...


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