Today, my grandfather turns 90 years old! When I was little, I couldn’t pronounce “Granddaddy.” Instead, it came out Nandy, and it stuck. My Nandy calls me his blue-eyed girl. Everyone else in my immediate family has brown eyes, so I get my blue eyes from him. It’s our special bond.
Nandy is a little unsteady on his feet these days, but he’ll tell you a story about something that happened 65 years ago (or yesterday) in perfect detail. He doesn’t say much. When he does speak, I’ve learned to listen because it’s important. I’ve also learned not to interrupt him. A pause doesn’t mean he’s finished. If you interrupt him, you might miss the best part of the story.
He is not the kind of man to brag or pat himself on the back. Actually, I’ve never heard him talk about himself at all. Unless we’re begging him to tell stories from his younger days. About 8 years ago, our hometown church named Nandy as an honorary deacon. At the ceremony, I heard things I already knew—about his decades of service as a Sunday School teacher and deacon at the church. But I was surprised to learn something I never knew. For years, Nandy led a weekly Bible Study at the county jail for the inmates there. In his typical humble manner, he extended his faith beyond the walls of the church.
During that ceremony honoring my grandfather, I decided something. I want to marry a man whose actions are greater than his words. Nandy rarely talks about his faith in Jesus, but he lives it out every single day. He seldom says much about love, but I’ve never doubted his love for me or our family. Many people talk about love and faith. But it’s rare to find someone quietly and simply acting them out every single day.
Nandy also lives out his love for my grandmother every day. He now does all of the cooking and household chores. He takes care of her basic needs. Recently, she had a short stay in the nursing home. He visited her every day and couldn’t wait to bring her back home. Even though it meant more work for him.
I’m still looking for the man I will marry. Although Nandy and I have never spoken about the topic, his living example serves as the best advice on relationships:
Actions speak louder than words. Love is a verb. Faith is alive.
I’ll keep looking, Nandy. I’ve met a lot of big talkers, but I’ll wait to find the one who simply lives out love and faith every day. Just like you.
Nandy, I love you. Happy 90th Birthday!
Your Blue-Eyed Girl