I want to tell you a little bit about my Papa Johnny!! This papa was my mom’s dad. He was born 91 years ago today. Unfortunately, by his early teens, he had no parents, was living on the street or staying with friends, and eventually getting into trouble. By his late teens, he was drinking way too much, living way too rough, and ended up in jail!! Some of this the result of bad decisions made by others and some because of bad decisions made by him.
After his jail time, he met and married my sweet Granny and they had seven kids, my mom being the second in line!! He loved his wife and kids, but by this time, he was an alcoholic and in some ways, couldn’t/wouldn’t let go of who he had been before. He was hard and from what I hear not very nice.
Those are the facts I learned after I was grown and had kids of my own.
I was the first granddaughter and what I knew of Papa was that I had stolen his heart. When I was a few months old, I got the whooping cough and had to go live with them. Apparently Papa would sit up with me, holding me and making sure Granny was alerted if I was choking. This is the Papa I knew, a little rough around the edges, but loving to his grandkids. He always had a paper bag of candy bars hidden just for us. He always had fun with us, and he spoiled us.
As I grew up, I became aware of the fact that he drank, but never realized how bad it was, or how he acted when he was drunk. All I knew was how much he loved us. He was harsh sometimes, but he always made sure we knew he never wanted us to drink, he taught us to be respectful, to have good manners, and he made sure we all new he wanted us to be “better people than he was”!!
After I was grown and not quite so naive, I saw and heard things that surprised me, but I knew he had always loved me and my sweet Granny loved him and no matter what anyone said about him, she saw something worthwhile in him that no one else did. She believed in him, she loved him, she stood by him when no one thought she should, she prayed for him when he didn’t want her prayers.
As they aged, he mellowed out a little and she continued loving him and praying for him for about 55 years and then she went to be with Jesus.
After Granny passed, we started having big reunion/birthday parties for him every year. The great grandkids were the life of the party by this point and he loved them. Some of the grandkids and great grandkids would talk to him about Jesus and sing songs for him about Jesus, he would listen and enjoy, and he always told them to live right and to stay in church but that it wasn’t for him. I always knew he thought he wasn’t worth the love of Jesus. He felt he had been so bad, there wasn’t much left to love. There didn’t seem to be anything we could do to convince him otherwise except pick up where Granny left off in the prayer department.
We watched as Jesus softened Papa, he would just cry like a baby when we were all around. He would listen to us tell stories of when we were little and he would laugh until he cried and he would say how much he loved his kids (which meant kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, and great, great-grandkids)
Five years ago, at the end of our weekend reunion, after three days of being with the kids who shared Jesus with him year after year after year, he was finally convinced that he was worth it and he asked Jesus into his heart at the age of 86!! What a MIRACLE!! What a time of CELEBRATION!! I know my Granny wasn’t here to witness it, she never saw the fruits of her labors on this earth as far as he was concerned, but I know she was enJOYing the Angels singing that day, she was having her own heavenly party.
He started out a blessing from God even if he didn’t know it. The enemy used him and tried to destroy him, but in the end Papa and Jesus won!!
Unfortunately, Papa didn’t make it to his 91st birthday today, we lost him in December. I sat with him just days before Jesus took him and listened to him tell me what he was going to do when he got to Heaven. He thought there should be a sign that says “All Boyles Welcome” (Boyle being his last name) He didn’t want anyone else thinking they weren’t worth it. We laughed and we cried, ALOT!! I really love him and miss him, the best part though is that I can just see him walking/dancing on the streets of gold with Granny and Jesus!!
This picture was taken a couple of months before he went to live with Jesus!! Isn't he the cutest!!
Here he is laughing at something silly I said!! I loved laughing with him!!
All this to say, no matter how bad a situation is, or how many years you have prayed that same prayer, when you feel like giving up, or like He isn’t listening, don’t give up, don’t quit praying and remember NOTHING is impossible for GOD, His timing may not always be what we think it SHOULD be, but if we give it all to Him, His plan is always better than anything we could have hoped for!!
Happy Birthday Papa - I sure miss you!!
Thank you Jesus for giving me Papa!!
Counting it all Joy!!