Although I grew up half-way across the world, my grandparents have played a very important role in my life.
I never could just run across the street to visit them, but they always made it a priority to fly across the ocean to visit us! One of my fondest childhood memories was getting to have both my mom’s parents and my dad’s parents present in Czech at my baptism at age 15. It is quite extraordinary that despite growing up on the other side of the world, my grandparents have been a part of some very important growth points in my life.
Another such moment was when I was 16. Grandma and Bapa (my mom’s parents) knew that I really liked this band called Switchfoot, and they decided to fly my out to Oregon to see them play live. It was my first time traveling on my own, and ended up being an incredibly formative experience. Having your grandparents take you to a rock show is pretty awesome (!), but even more awesome was their love and intentionality toward a maturing teenager.
At age 19 while I was a student at Moody, Grandpa and Nana (my dad’s parents) invited me to come spend my two-week Spring Break with them in Colorado. We ate many incredible meals thanks to grandma’s cooking. My grandpa is an incredible gardener, and I got to help him shovel manure and plant potatoes. But the big transformative experience was having grandpa teach me how to drive on his manual VW Jetta. I passed the test and received my driving license, and have been changed ever since through this learning experience with grandpa.
I’ve been thinking of Grandpa Patty much in the recent days. He just went through open heart surgery — the same surgery my dad had four years ago. A problem with his mitral valve has left him with very little energy due to restricted blood flow to his heart. Other than this, he is a healthy and active 88 year-old, still maintaining his garden and discipling men! I saw him recently at our Patty family reunion last December, and he continues to be such an engaged and caring man of God. His story is far from over yet.
The surgery went incredibly well. But now the very difficult work of recovery has begun. He will likely be in a lot of pain over the coming days as his body re-calibrates (this was true of my dad as well). He is stable in the ICU, and they are hoping to have him sitting up in a chair tomorrow morning.
Lara and I have been praying for grandpa, and it is times like these that I am reminded of how amazing my grandparents are. They have left a permanent mark on my life—directly by their investment in my life, and indirectly by their life of faithfulness to Christ—and I do not take this for granted. They continue to leave a mark, even as my 88 year-old grandpa voluntarily goes through this surgery, desiring to continue living boldly for Jesus.