(Grandpa and Grandma Hawley at our house in York, Nebraska with our dog, Pal.)
(Grandpa Hawley reading to four of his grandsons: Back: left, Dave; right, Wayne. Seated: left, me; right, Dale, who would be my college roommate!)
Over the course of several years, Lee and Rosemary Martin have helped immeasurably in making my apartment more inhabitable from helping choose furniture at IKEA to helping assemble my new furnishings to helping arrange it all. The last piece of the puzzle was a shelf which Lee mounted on the wall and upon which now sets a clock, the one my grandparents gave each other when they married ninety-two years ago. This is about my father and his father, who was a great Gospel preacher and grandfather. It originally ran on August 15, 2006.
Grandpa Hawley came to live with us when I was in college. My grandmother had died after fifty-plus years of marriage and my grandfather was now in his eighties. My parents had moved to Lubbock, Texas from Nebraska shortly after his relocation, far away from his Michigan home. He was feeble and had suffered a stroke, leaving his communication skills at a fraction of their former level and impairing his reasoning ability. He was tied down to the house with precious little to do. Grandpa began doing something I would never have imagined under any circumstance- he started watching soap operas and apparently began watching very intently. One day, my mother called my dad at his office on the campus of Lubbock Christian University where he was a professor in the psychology department. Grandpa was very upset and she needed my father to come quickly. When Dad arrived home, he found Grandpa extremely agitated. Dad asked what was wrong and Grandpa, a former minister of the gospel, proclaimed, "I've discovered there's another son and he's trying to steal the inheritance!" Obviously, Grandpa had projected himself into the plot of One Life To Live or General Hospital or any one of the nearly indistinguishable afternoon programs. My father thought for a second and countered with, "Well, Dad, I guess that means Mom was with another man." Grandpa pondered this obvious dilemma and stated emphatically, "IMPOSSIBLE!" That was the end of that story line, or at least he never brought it up again. I have to give my father credit. His quick thinking saved this side of the Hawley clan from a scandal of epic proportions!
I begin all five sections of my Bible classes at Westbury Christian School in the same location; the story of Jacob's sons and his lovely, sole daughter, Dinah. I tell my students if they made a soap opera of the this family tree, it would be too bizarre for anyone to believe. The lying, the infidelity, the intrigue, the murders, the anger, the estrangement: it's all there...and more! And yet, these twelve sons became the twelve tribes of Israel and the roots of the Jewish family which produced our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Modern soap operas tell tales of fictional characters who participate in every immoral behavior known to man. But check out Jacob's family and you'll find the modern dramas can't hold a candle to the real thing. But what did the Father in heaven do with those twelve brothers who struggled with every sin known to mankind? He made a great nation from the descendants of this twelve-pack of mortals. Can't he also do mighty things with us as we live out the daily soap operas that tend to be our existence? He can...and he will, if we let him.
Applicable quote of the day:
"It takes a rather special sort of person to follow soap operas. You have to be highly intelligent to understand them and thick as a brick to want to."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org