In 1976, my grandpa, Charles Edward Kingman and my grandma, Berniece, gave me a black leather Bible. While I haven’t hardly read passages from it except occasionally, since the early 80s, I have carried it with me and it has been near my bed for thirty-five of my almost forty-seven years.
The days in my first couple years of college when lovely Erika Perry would scootch up next to me and share holding this Book are long gone. But I can point to the passages that she underlined on our laps during service.
I have changed over these thirty five years. I have experienced great triumphs and great losses. I’ve lived in eight major cities and ten states. I’ve lived both quite well and dirt poor during these years. I’ve had a few long periods of being a bachelor and a few long relationships. The most important lessons learned in life came not from mentors nor teachers, but from my own self-exploration through a dysfunctional marriage and bitter divorce; leaving me humbler, wiser, more patient and self-confident.
The highlight of life has been spending time with my daughters Grace and Ellie. I miss them terribly, as many of my peers and friends will attest too from our conversations.
Heroclitus, the Greek philosopher, states that the only constant in human experience is change. How true these words are. Most humans crave constant, not changing, lifestyle. That is not, however, the destiny of any human. We get change. Constantly. I learned at a young age to embrace that.
My grandpa Charlie knew what carrying that Bible would do. He knew that it would become a worry-stone, if you will; a touchpoint of reassurance in a crazy world – allowing me to touch his, my grandpa’s, presence. My grandpa saw a lot of change – from selling apples in Kansas during the Great Depression, to serving in WW2, to the cultural and familial changes over a life of 82 years. Somehow, he knew that I would always carry that book with me.