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Grampa. Making peace with God

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Grampa wasn’t related to me by blood. But it really didn’t matter—Grampa was a good Grandpa. He used to take me fishing, cooked delicious fish soup, and carried me on his shoulders. What’s not to like for a kid?

Grandpa was a very kind man. He loved people and was never greedy

Grandpa was a very kind man. He loved people and never got greedy. An avid fisherman, he never sold his catch but instead gave it all away to his neighbors.

He once told me a story from his childhood. During one of his walks with friends near the river, Grandpa saw a little boy, about three years old, playing around on the sandy riverbank. Grandpa, himself a young boy at the time, was surprised—such a little boy, and all by himself. He came up to him. The boy was dressed in rags, looking grubby all over and thin, and all that my Grampa could remember today was the boy’s huge blue eyes and matted blond hair. My Grampa, without a moment’s hesitation took this boy home where he washed and dressed him in old clothes and gave him food. Once Grandpa’s mother came home from work in the evening, she only gasped with surprise. She had already gotten used to her kind-hearted son’s habit of dragging every hapless creature home—it kittens here, wounded birds there; but a child? This toddler was a first! It was getting dark outside, and so they decided to have him stay with them till morning. In the morning, my Grampa and his mother went to look for the little boy’s parents, and they did find them, but with great difficulty. We will skip the story of why or how the boy was left alone, but from that time on that toddler became a frequent visitor at my grandpa’s home.

At the time it was hard for me to imagine my old Grampa as a boy. How could such a kind and bright boy hide under the guise of this old, wrinkled man, forever reeking of cheap “Prima” cigarettes?

But in spite of all the goodness of his heart, Grampa was a fierce enemy of God. He would constantly argue with my mother, cursing God and trying to prove that He did not exist:

“If your God exists and He is so good and just, why do we still have wars, and helpless children still go on dying? Why doesn’t He come down from heaven and shake His fist at everyone? What kind of God is He to have zero sympathy for us?!”

It was useless to argue with Grampa on this issue. Besides, he couldn’t really listen to his opponent, as he’d simply stubbornly keep pushing to prove his point. It should be noted that Grampa was a smart and well-read man who regularly visited a library having probably read all the books they had there. So, during his disputes with my mother, he would skillfully counter her arguments by quoting the Bible, since he had read the Book of books more than once.

Lo and behold, I am twenty-five myself, whereas my Grampa is older than eighty. He is still the same fierce old God-fighter as before and he can’t stand the sight of “priestlings,” but now he has me as an opponent in those arguments. But I can’t argue, so I prefer to stay quiet, and so his attempts to start an argument quickly turn into a monologue. Grampa is also gravely ill—he has cancer of the tongue and throat. I often wondered whether this disease befell him because he blasphemed God. But Grampa endured his illness steadfastly and without any complaint, even though he never made peace with God.

“I’ll die, but don’t you dare have those “priestlings” come near me!” he’d announce every time the conversation turned to faith and the Church

“I am going to die, but keep those “priestlings” of yours away from me”!” he would announce menacingly every time the conversation turned to faith and the Church.

The | Grampa. Making peace with God | The Paradise NewsThe Nativity FastThe Nativity Fast

“>Nativity fast began.

Grampa was feeling worse. He could no longer speak, eat or even drink. He was kept alive by IV drips. Death stared him in the face grinning greedily—well, this one was his for sure. The old man’s relatives were already coming to my Grampa’ house.

“He’s dying already… Maybe let’s invite a priest?” I sheepishly asked Uncle Vitya, Grampa’ son.

“Are you kidding? You were clearly told already. He’ll turn him away at the door!”

I shrank back. But my Aunt Valya didn’t, and so she went inside the dying man’s bedroom. She took a seat next to Grampa, wrapped her arms around his shoulders, and asked him warmly, “Uncle Sasha, what if we do invite batiushka? We’ve got a good one.” Grampa was staring out of the window at the random sprinkles of scant December snow diligently covering the gray, inanimate earth, and then, to everyone’s surprise, nodded in agreement: “Yes!”

It was pandemonium! All of “ours,” that is, the believers, jumped up and got things going fast! We called Father Fyodor: “Batiushka, there is no time to spare! What if he changes his mind or, worse, dies!”

Father Fyodor dropped everything he was doing and arrived quickly. He began with the Sacraments of | Grampa. Making peace with God | The Paradise News Holy Wednesday. The service of Holy UnctionIt is a tradition in the Orthodox Church for all the faithful to receive Holy Unction during Great Lent. In many churches, this service is celebrated specifically on Holy and Great Wednesday, after the Matins served that evening.

“>Holy Unction and | Grampa. Making peace with God | The Paradise NewsPreparing for ConfessionNow tell me: Is Confession profitable or needful? Certainly it is profitable and even essential; because, just as it is impossible to cleanse a vessel without ridding it of all uncleanness, so it is impossible to purge your soul of sins without confession.”>Confession. We all crowded outside the door fearing that Grampa might pull a trick or something. But everything went smoothly. The only problem was that Grampa could no longer receive communion, as he was already unable to swallow. After the Sacraments, batiushka held a lengthy conversation with Grampa, who would nod in response. Batiushka left, but Grampa has suddenly become as if a transformed man. It was obvious that he wanted us to leave him alone. We turned Grampa on his side and left to have some tea. When we came back, Grampa had already died.

What makes a miracle? Is it when a mountain moves? Or when a dry branch bursts into blossoms? Or is it when someone dead returns to life? All this happened to my Grampa. God didn’t allow his good soul to perish, and He visited him to be reconciled. That’s what a true Miracle is like! It’s almost as if you are jumping onto the last carriage of a departing train, and it is a scary thought what would have happened if Grampa had not made it in. All his life, he searched for justice in God, but he found profound patience, mercy, and inconceivable love. May the Lord have mercy on his soul!

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