the last week or so has been really cool for me. it’s been crazy busy but i’ve really enjoyed it. i’ve worked four basketball games, filmed 18 interviews with players and coaches, filmed and edited highlights of three basketball games, made a video of our girls winning the big south championship, written two papers, and bombed a final exam all in the last eight days. as much fun as all of that stuff has been, it doesn’t compare to what happened on friday afternoon.

my grandpa winked at me and gave me a thumbs up.

in case you’re new here or don’t know me that well, let me catch you up to speed. back in october my grandpa had a massive stroke that probably should have killed him. a week later he underwent a surgery that he was only given a 10% chance to live through. he was said to be paralyzed on his left side and yet he has moved his legs at times, can feel his left side, and can even smile a little bit. needless to say, the guy is fighting his butt of right now.

unfortunately though, i hadn’t been able to see him since my birthday back in october. part of that was my fault but part of it was my work schedule and school schedule. everything collided this past weekend and i was able to go see him if only for twenty minutes.

i was standing in his hospital room next to his bed holding his hand. he had had a tough morning and was trying to fight off a fever. it was obvious that he was completely worn out and on the verge of falling asleep (or as he would say – resting his eyes). i said hey to him and he knew who i was and squeezed my hand a little bit. my mom was there next to both of us and asked him if he could wink for me and he gave me the biggest wink i’ve ever seen. then mom asked him if he could give me a thumbs up and he took the hand that i was holding and gave me a thumbs up. then mom asked him if he could give me a smile and he smiled for me.

and it was completely awesome.

i knew that even though he was in the state that he’s in that he was still all there mentally. he may not be the same physically but he’s still there. knowing that and seeing him respond to my mom like he did were two completely different things. after i left the hospital i tweeted “peepaw winked at me. i don’t think there’s anything you could do to ruin this day.”

not only did he do all of those things physically, he also reminded me why he is one of the greatest men to ever walk on this planet.

after mom talked to him for a second, she got a phone call so it was just me by his bed. i decided to simply talk to him. it was me talking to my grandpa. i talked to him just like i would’ve had i been sitting on his couch and him in his blue recliner. i told him what was going on in my life. i told him that i had been wanting to come see him for a while but that i had school and work that had kept me really busy.

then i started talking about jesus.

and that’s when he perked up.

i started telling peepaw about the churches i’ve applied at. i told him their names. i told him where they were. i told him what i liked about them. i told him i didn’t know where i would end up but that he taught me a long time ago that god has a plan for me and that he’d provide whatever i needed. i told him how my church in lynchburg was doing and how we were bursting at the seams with people every week. i let him know that we were picking up right where he left off and how we were doing the work for jesus that he would normally be doing. before i left i reminded him of one of my favorite passages of scripture and quoted it for him even though i knew he knew it word for word.

the entire time i was talking about this he was squeezing my hand just a little tighter. his breathing was just a little more consistent and just a little stronger. his face looked just a little brighter.

after i left the hospital i drove up to king to see my grandma. we were standing in her kitchen and i was telling her about all of this. she told me that if someone was in his room praying with him and not holding his hand that he would lift his hand as much as he could just like he would if he were standing in the pulpit praying over his church.

even while stuck in a hospital bed strapped to machines and tubes, my grandpa was still on fire for jesus.

i can only hope that if i’m in his situation 45 years from now that i have half the passion for god that he does. i said it in one of my posts last week but my grandpa gets it. he gets what this whole christianity thing is. he loves god with every inch of his mind, heart, and soul.

i have learned so much from him in the past five months while he has been in the hospital. the passage of the bible that i mentioned to him before i left was the end of habakkuk chapter three. it basically says that while everything sucks and everything is going wrong, i will still praise god because he’s my strength and he guides my path.

i have never met someone that lives out that passage of scripture more than daniel raymond salmon.

i guess i was preaching to the preacher.

but he still winked at me.

say your prayers and take your vitamins.

have a nice day.