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Changing Seasons

5. Connecting Lives

 

Grandpa decided to change directions. He said, “So, is anybody thirsty, or would you like some cookies or candy or something?”

 

The kids said that they were thirsty, so somebody went into the kitchen and got some ice water in a picture and some paper cups and brought them in. This wasn’t unusual. Grandpa always did this for them.

 

Grandpa said, “I do have something I need to tell you all. It’s something very personal to me. But before I do, I have a little treat for you.“

 

Grandpa went into another room and brought out a bag. No one knew what was in the bag except Grandpa.

 

Grandpa said, “When I realized I was going to tell you this story, I needed to go on a little trip first. I went to a place where I used to live. I stopped at a candy store and got some candy for you all. You’re probably wondering why I’m giving you some of this candy.”

 

Larry, who is the one who always had an answered to just about anything, even before he knew the question, decided he wanted to say something while Grandpa was handing out the candy.

 

Larry said, “I’m thinking this candy came from the same candy store that Albert got his candy from. I’m not really sure how you knew where that store was, Grandpa, but you can do a lot of things that amazes us.

 

Grandpa said, “I knew I could count on you, Larry. Actually, Larry is pretty close on this one. “

 

Frank interrupted, “Yeah, Larry, you really nailed this one!“

 

Larry responded, “I was just guessing. I’m not even sure I know what the question is.“

 

Grandpa said, “I don’t need to put more of this into a story because I’m gonna tell you how the story is connected with my life. The boy in the story that was named Albert was actually my son. There’s a little bit more to the story as a backdrop. A few of you already know this, but I need to tell you all.

 

Grandpa stopped and took a deep breath.

 

Grandpa continued, “My wife and I had twins. One was a boy and one was a girl, like Larry and Lisa. When we found out that we were having twins, we were overjoyed. But after they were born, we were told that they both had a very rare condition. We believed that if God wanted to, He could heal them. We also believed that God had a special plan that we didn’t fully understand. Both of our children struggled with their health. You could tell that in the story about the boy. Our daughter died when she was about eight years old. Our son was still struggling with the disease, but we thought he might actually be able to have a somewhat normal life.“

 

Lisa said, “Thanks, Grandpa. We know this is really hard for you, but we appreciate you sharing it with us.“

 

Then Grandpa continued, “If you now think about what happened in the story, the reason the sister of Albert was never mentioned, was because she had already died before the accident.

 

Grandpa stopped. It seemed like he might not be able to finish. He paused just a little bit longer. And then he decided to continue.

 

Grandpa said, “My son decided that he was going to push himself to be like all the rest of the other boys his age. His mother and I tried to discourage him from that, but we knew that he would do what he wanted to do. Actually, it turned out that the thing that he struggled with the most was being jealous of his best friend, Alex, as was indicated in the story. His best friend tried to discourage him from doing things that were beyond his physical ability, but my son was just too strong-willed, I guess.”

 

As Grandpa paused, Frank decided to say something. He said, “So, Grandpa, is there any more about the relationship between your son and his best friend that might be helpful for us. Because we don’t want you to have to tell too much. We know how hard this is for you. Especially realizing now that your son might have died if his best friend had not sacrificed for him.”

 

Grandpa said, “I really appreciate you all being so considerate of me. But there really is something else I need to share with you about me, personally.

 

Grandpa paused again.

 

Then Grandpa continued, “I know this is hard for you kids to understand, but I’m going through … something like a change in seasons. I’ve been retired for a long time, but I haven’t really thought about what that meant. I just kept running around trying to fill my time and my mind with memories of the past. Recently, I started to realize the God has something special for me to do here, with you kids.“

 

Several of the kids were starting to cry, quietly.

 

Finally, Frank cut in, “I think I understand you, Grandpa. I think we’re really not that different. Well, you’re a lot older than me, and wiser than me, and smarter than me, and can tell stories better than me, but other than that we’re about the same.”

 

Several of the kids started to laugh, but then they realized it really was kind of serious, so they stopped.

 

Frank continued, “I’ve been kinda mean recently to a few of you, mostly, Larry. I want to tell you all that I really feel like God spoke to me, and told me that I was gonna have to stop being jealous. I think that’s the real reason why I was being so mean to Larry. Sounds kind of silly. But I guess that’s how I responded. Well, Grandpa, maybe I am more like your son, than you. What do you think?“

 

Grandpa responded, “Yes, Frank. That was the main reason why I told Larry I wanted to make sure that you were here. Because I wanted you to be able to hear the story. I didn’t want to go around saying things about you, Frank, but I wanted to let you know that God loves you and that He can help you. “

 

All during this time, Frieda was just sitting there as her normal, bashful self. But then she felt led to say something.

 

Frieda said, “For some reason, Grandpa, I thought I knew who you were. And now I’m positive I do. I had a hard time recognizing you with the beard. I’m just a little girl. What do I know about men wanting to grow a beard, but I think it’s somehow important for me to mention it. Is that right, Grandpa?“

 

Grandpa looked at the sweet little face of Frieda, and wondered how he could’ve kept his identity from her for so long. Grandpa remembered her from three years earlier. And he didn’t think she really changed very much. She was just as sweet as she’d ever been. But now she seemed like she was scared.

 

Grandpa said to Frieda, “I hope I’m not going to embarrass you. I just want you to have a really good life. We all know it was hard for you to move. It’s never easy for children. I’m not quite sure why, but God made sure that I was here when you got here.“

 

The most amazing thing happened after this. Grandpa was totally beside himself. He didn’t even think his kids had it in them.

 

Every single one of the girls that were there, walked over, one by one, and gave Frieda a hug.

 

After that was all over, Lisa said, “See, I told you that God loved you! How else can you explain the fact that all the girls wanted to give you a hug when they knew that you were having such a hard time feeling loved and accepted here?!“

 

After this, everyone enjoyed talking to each other and eating their candy. They all seemed to agree with Grandpa that his candy store really did make the best. They fully understood why his son always wanted to go to that store to get his candy.

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