OPINION COLUMNS

How do you spell love?

By Gerry Lewis | Published Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Grandpa Lewis passed away in 1986. Yesterday I got a birthday card from him in the mail.

No, it wasn’t my birthday and the return address was not 777 Pearly Gates.

My dad has been going through boxes that have been stored in his garage. A few days ago, he opened a box of things that had been packed up after Grandpa died. In that box, he found a birthday card that Grandpa had prepared for my birthday in December 1985. He had it ready to go, and then he got sick and didn’t get it mailed. Dad filled in the address information around my name in Grandpa’s handwriting on the original envelope and mailed it to me.

Grandpa was one of my heroes and it was a special thing to get that card 27 years later and know that he had been thinking of me. When he died in the summer of ’86, I wrote a song about him called “Love Is Sometimes Spelled Grandpa.” The refrain says, “Love is sometimes spelled Grandpa; with arms that chase away the dark when they’re wrapped around you. And a knee that was a perfect fit to bounce a little boy. The years could never take away the things that brought him joy.”

When I wrote that song, my dad was not yet a grandpa. That would come a couple of years later with the birth of my daughter. All these years later, I know my kids feel the same way about their Grandpa (and their Granddaddy and their Papaw) as I did about mine. And those grandfathers (by whatever name) are just as crazy about their grandkids.

Grandpa showed me a special kind of love. My kids have also experienced Grandpa love. And I suspect that it won’t be too many years before I get to show some Grandpa love myself. It is a unique love, though it is human and limited. But there is another love that is perfect because it comes from the One who not only shows love, but who is love.

The last refrain of the songs says, “Love is always spelled Jesus; His arms enfolded Grandpa and gently took him home. And one day He will come for me and I won’t be surprised when I step inside the gate to see my Grandpa’s loving eyes.”

Love is sometimes spelled Grandpa. Love is always spelled Jesus. And our lives matter so much to Him that He was thinking of us when He died on a cross.

I opened a letter from Him today and read these words: “God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:8-11)

How do you spell love? Might I make a suggestion?

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