This is a picture of my Grandfather taken during WWII. He was born and raised in San Fransisco by two German immigrants. His dad was a butcher and his mother raised him and his older sister, selling die besten (the best) desserts imaginable.
They named him, Frank Graeber. (As far as a name goes, it doesn’t get more German than that. Graeber means “grave digger” in German.) 🇩🇪
Well, this picture may capture your attention – or not – but when I see it, I’m completely captivated. For in this man, God gave me a rare gift. He gave me a man, who taught me how to be a man. He was so strong. He always came through. He had what it takes to make it in this life. Yet all the while, his heart was so good – so golden – so true.
With tears welling, I have never met a man so good. Oh, he was as dangerous as he was strong, but he was, oh, so good!
Insulated by his size and strength externally, I imagine it may have afforded him the opportunity to foster an incredible tenderness internally. Böse, hüte dich (Evil beware), but those broken, bewildered or bereaved found nothing but grace and empathy.
I experienced this first hand, he held me as a child, celebrated me, planned traveling adventures for me and initiated me into manhood.
If any man were, he was my hero. He, beside Christ, I find I model my life after more than any other.
Here’s to you Grandpa! Though you are no longer in body, your spirit is quite alive, still pushing me forward, still celebrating me in this uncharted territory of manhood I find myself in. I know you did it. So I know I can too.
I know you passed through death’s door into life eternal. (Yet you are so alive, I swear I feel you now.) One day, I know I will too. Until I see you then, mein freund.
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Dr. Joel Johnson is the President of Joel Johnson Ministries (501(c)3 Charity) and founder of the Dark Horse Initiative. Dark Horse’s vision is to see “every underdog an overcomer” and exists to “inspire underdogs to actualize their highest potential” through the Five Pillars of transformation: Faith, Friends, Family, Fitness, and Finances.Donate Now
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