My grandpa’s name was John T. Smith. He wasn’t my “real” grandpa. My “real” grandpa drowned in a whirlpool when my dad was 11. It was during a family picnic alongside the Cedar River. John T. Smith was the only grandpa I ever knew. He loved me quietly with his actions. He was a creative and consistent man who turned old phones into lamps. They were very cool. Then he would sell them or he might give you one if he liked you.
When I was in grade school I was in the hospital for several months. He would come and see me and bring me mints – individually wrapped! He didn’t say much. But he came regularly and often would bring me toys which were made out of wood. Cars, trucks, and a red and white parking garage that I pretended was a fort. And he smoked Pall Mall non-filtered cigarettes which stained his fingers.
When I was in high school I got into a lot of trouble with the police one night. They let me out of jail around 3 A.M. and I did not have a peaceful time of it when I got home. Somewhere around 7 A.M. my bed was shaking. I thought it would be my dad and that was not going to be good. To my surprise it was NOT my dad, but my grandpa, John T. Smith! He told me to “get up”. We were going for a ride. My grandpa drove a 1962 Ford Falcon with a three- speed on the column. He didn’t say a word as we drove out to some non-descript farm outside of Denver, Iowa. Not a word all the way there. It was chilly on this spring morning. There were still patches of snow and ice scattered throughout this muddy field. Without notice he stopped walking. I stopped too. He told me to bend down and look inside this rather fresh cow pie. “Closer”, he said. I looked. It was fresh enough to smell like…
“What do you see?” See? Outside of the obvious, there was a thin, strong little green blade reaching toward the sun. That’s what I told him. He looked at me, turned, and we walked back to the car in silence. Then we cleaned off our boots, got in the ’62 Falcon and drove home in silence.
I am 65 now and the details, smells and all are still vivid for me. Even in the midst of some self-inflicted stuff God can use that for new beginnings, growth, and a change of direction. It came at a time when my life could have gone one way or another. And there was steady, quiet, man of few words and loud actions – John T. Smith!
Timing is a “funny” thing isn’t it? I am currently reviewing my life through the lens of not only what happened, and who was instrumental in bringing it about; but I am looking at the timing of these significant events. It is such a very insightful experience. The “when of it all.” That’s what I’m calling it.
I’m not up to present day yet but I can’t help but thinking about my journey into the Living School. I am legging out this journey with some incredible people. They call them students but they are really student teachers. Then there are our instructors. Then…there is the Always Present One.
Timing belongs to God. Spring is a rich time to see (and smell) something green growing where we would not normally look. The winter season of my life is just beginning and it is time to own that I may be ready for some wisdom, silence, meditation, Lectio Divina, consistency, and expansion.
What time is it for you? I would love to hear your insights about TIMING.
Scott Jenkins is a Founding Director of Celtic Way
Read more about him here