They stood around in the living room of the little Hill Country house, not much more than a cabin, all with tear-dimmed eyes. The old rock fireplace popped and crackled with the distinct aroma of cedar. These siblings were brought together by the passing of a parent and each with blurred eyes visualized again the laughter, love and hard work they had shared. Granddad had passed away. Dad slowly lifted himself from the couch as though he shouldered a cord of staves and said, “I believe one of his favorites was When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder.” It was the first time I had ever seen my father cry.

Granddad was a big, strong man and had worked hard all of his life. He used this strength as a peacemaker. Many in Camp Wood and Real County had come to him for advice and solutions to the disagreements common among frontier people. He had a gentle firmness about him, always with justice. I remember vividly, as a child, sitting on the front porch of their home listening as Granddad rocked back in a rickety twine-seated chair, giving advice and retelling history. My first sense of and appreciation for family came from Granddad.

I have since grown to appreciate my family, even those not so appreciable. Knowing you belong gives you not only a place but also purpose. Perhaps that is what God intended when He equated the church to family (Ephesians 3:15). It should be a haven of comfort, consolation, and confidence and can be if we pursue peace with a firm gentleness in uncompromised truth.

I miss my Granddad but “he being dead still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4). We must be family.