I have this photograph of my grandfather sitting on my desk. It sits at the back, and sometimes I can only make out the top of it, above the pile of various very important documents that must be tended to instantly.
But every so often, I look up over Paper Mountain and I see his face. I see him looking out over the great lake. He’s thinking something. I wonder what. His countenance is kind; it always was. He wears a flat cap, as usual, and most certainly has a pipe stuck in his pocket, along with a package of sweet smelling tobacco. He holds on to the side rails of something; a boat maybe, or a pier. He looks intently out at the future and the past all at once. And I feel like I can run right into that picture and wrap my arms around his waist, burying my head into his chest. I can take a deep breath and smell that Captain Black and all the kindness and all of the stories he ever told me.
Grandpa was a contemplative man, and one of the kindest who ever lived. He called me “Dolly-girl” from the time we met until he said goodbye. Grandpa loved to read stories, and he loved to tell me about them. He was a writer—and he was a father and a husband and a golfer and a whole bunch of other things.
It occurred to me, as I read a little Sherlock Holmes with my daughter (one of his favourites), that I think he lived inside of these stories. And yet he wasn’t lost in them. He frolicked inside them and then brought those adventures out with him into the world, and created some of his own. He knew he was a part of a great story himself, you see, and we were all a part of that story. We still are.
He entered the tale, already begun, and he added his best ideas; his best advice; and his jolly laughter. I can still hear it. And the twinkle in his eyes told me to keep on writing; to keep on believing that the great Author isn’t finished yet; He’s just getting started. This is an epic adventure we are all on, with its twists and turns, its disappointments, tragedy, and triumphs. And the Author fully intends on weaving redemption and love all through the whole thing. He is the master storyteller, after all.