The legacy of my grandparents

Joel 1:2-3 (NLT)

Tell your children about it in the years to come, and let your children tell their children. Pass the story down from generation to generation.

I never got a chance to see my paternal grandfather Gnana sundaram thatha. But I have heard so much about his great life. He was a devout Christian, a registered medical practioner, a teacher, church-musician and a voracious reader. He served the people in his village by providing free medical service, education and lots of love and care. He died early, but left back indelible memories of exemplary living. When we were younger, we used to visit my father’s village often. The friends and family there always had wonderful stories of the impactful life that he lived.

 
My paternal grandfather Gnana Sundaram thatha, my father on his grandmother’s lap.

 

However, I was blessed to see, cherish, live and observe closely the life of my maternal grandfather VG Williams thatha. If there’s one person I know who doesn’t have one mean bone in his body – it is him.

He was a very influential man, holding powerful titles throughout his life. He even met with the then President of the United States Ronald Raegan to discuss affairs of the poor in India. He could stop by and chat with the then chief ministers of Tamil Nadu (I have seen pictures of all). He had the capacity to amass huge wealth and fame. But he gave it all and shared it all.

When he was working, he adopted many poor children and made his home their home and gave them the gift of family. After he retired, he used all the money that he had to serve the poor and underprivileged. He started a small school for the poor. When he died, all that he had was a basic 600 sqft house, he didn’t even own an air-conditioner.

Sometimes, I think that my grandparents should have been better financial planners, and invested their money to ensure a fortune for the future. But then they left behind something that all the money in the world can never buy – an imperishable spiritual legacy.

I remember seeing my thatha pray every morning at 5 am, knees bent on the floor until 3 months before his death. He died when he was 98. I have seen him write the names of friends, family and strangers for every date in a daily bread book. After finishing his morning devotion, he would give them a ring, pray for them on the phone and wish them well. He wasn’t church leader or anything, just a lover of Jesus.

He prayed so much for me, I would never go to school without his prayer, and a cross marked on my forehead with his frail hands. I don’t know what he’s doing in heaven now, but I wish that God gives him a chance to look down at me, my husband and my little Arpana.

I have this photo on my wardrobe door. I stare at it every day and thank God for the life of my grand-parents and the godly heritage that I enjoy.

 
Me and my thatha VG williams praying before going to school yr -1990

And now, I see this scene everyday morning, and I know that one day Arpana will thank God for her godly heritage.

 

 
Arpana and her thatha Amos Thatha praying before going to school yr-2016

We are all so worked up to give the best of education and exposure to our kids, but what about their spiritual inheritance? Are we doing enough? How many hours of school-education, tuitions, coaching, extra-curricular? How many hours of talking to our children, praying with them, praying for them, and influencing them to live as children of God?

I hope that I will one day leave a legacy for my own.

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