Skip to main content

The Good Life

My Great Grandpa "Grape" is 99 years old. He has lived almost an entire century. And wow, a century is a long, long time. My Grandpa Grape is someone that I love and respect.

I remember being really little, and my family going over to Grandpa Grape's and Nonny's house. I remember having sleepovers there when I just wanted Nonny-Grandpa-Jensen time. The thing about Nonny and Grandpa Grape is, they always made you feel like you were the favorite grandchild. (I'm pretty sure every single one of us feel like we are the favorite.) Whenever I went over, Nonny made sure that she had a can of Dinty Moore stew for me to have for lunch, because she knew it was my favorite. That, and Minute Maid fruit punch. They had squirrels that lived in the trees of their yard, and they would take me out, peanuts in my little hands, and Grandpa would pick me up to place the peanuts along the gate for the squirrels to get later. Then, Grandpa Grape would take me out to have Grandpa Grape-Jensen time while Nonny did her business around the house. Grandpa would take me on a walk around the block, or the park down the street, or every once in a special while, miniature golfing.

Years pass. Aging happens. Nonny fell down the stairs one day, and she was never the same. At first, it was just an infection. Eventually, it turned into dementia. Nonny and Grandpa Grape moved out of there home they have always lived in since they moved to Pocatello, and moved into a little apartment with no stairs. Nonny became worse, and had to be moved to the retirement home. Grandpa Grape lived with his daughter, my grandmother, Granna. For the next couple of years, everyday, without fail, the first thing Grandpa Grape would do in the morning would get himself ready for the day and drive down to be with Nonny, and there he would stay all day in his chair, to be with his love, while she laid in a bed. We would come and visit weekly, and there was never a time when my family would go that Grandpa was not there.

Nonny died February 22, 2012.

Grandpa "Grape" is 99 years old. That's almost a century of living. That's three years without his love. When I go over to visit him, I like to ask him what his life was like. He still has a witty mind. I asked him what made him love Nonny. He smiled and said, "She was the prettiest girl in the dancing hall."

Grandpa Grape had to go the hospital last week. My husband and I went over to visit him with Granna and her husband, Bill Al. A young nurse came in to help him with some therapy. She was a sweet thing, asking him questions while they worked with his arms. She asked him about Nonny, referring to her as "his wife." He smiled and told her briefly about their marriage, and that she passed away about three years ago. The nurse responded, "I just got engaged. Do you have any good advice for me?"

I think the rest of us in the room were slightly curious what he was going to say. I was at least. He was married a majority of his life. He gave up athletic scholarships to marry her. He and she went through the Great Depression together. They moved several times together. What was the secret.

His answer was simple. "Oh, just live a good life."

...

Just live a good life. A good life? It struck into my heart, and for the rest of the day, and really the week, it was on my mind. What is a good life?

Perhaps the good life is simply to live and love and sacrifice. Perhaps living a good life is putting others' needs before your own. We live in a world of defenses and offenses, a time of "If it doesn't fit my needs, or satisfies my desires, it's bad." We live in a world of "Good Guy vs. Bad Guy."

But what if we stopped? What if we changed?

What if we stopped worrying about ourselves and started being more concerned about others? On a personal level? What if instead of pointing fingers, we opened our arms? What if we accepted? I'm not saying always agree. There is a huge difference between accepting someone and agreeing with someone.

What if we sacrificed something we want for something better? What if we sacrificed ourselves for someone else? That may not mean your mortal life, but something of value, like time?

I think that it is in our spiritual nature to want to help others. If we were to look into the very depths of ourselves, and find the hidden treasure that is our gift for others, we would make a difference in the world. When we are honest with ourselves, understanding that not everything makes sense, and not everything may seem fair, but there is a purpose in life. That purpose is to live, and to do good.

With everything that have been happening in the world, Paris, Kenya... it's easy to be afraid. It's easy to be hurt. It's easy to think, "This isn't fair. This isn't right." We change our profiles pictures to show the flag. We share Facebook posts of the various news. We try to show our support.

I think that's great. But maybe we could do more.

Living the good life is living with love, compassion. Living the good life is to be the change you want to see in the world, especially during times like these. Being the good in this world is by starting small, and improving, not being stagnant.

We all have the power to change things. We have been given that gift.

Start small. Do something to make a change.

Comments

  1. Jensen have you heard this song? I thought of you as I listened to it. God bless you and your family.

    http://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/music-videos/see-you-on-the-other-side-shaun-canon

    ReplyDelete
  2. acabo de leer su historia y me ha conmovido bastante, bendiciones infinitas, soy de Tijuana México y estoy pasando por problemas difíciles, se que los suyos fueron aún días más tristes y que mis problemas no se comparan con haber perdido su familia entera, seguiré firme en el evangelio y oraré con gran fe a mi padre celestial. Se que su respuesta no tardará

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A New Normal

Life is unfigureoutable. One minute, it's going one way. And then the next, your life is forever changed.

My name is Jensen Parrish. And my life has been changed.

I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in the Washington, Vancouver Mission, speaking American Sign Language. I had been out for a year.
My brother, Ian Parrish, was also a missionary for the church, serving in the South Dakota, Rapid City Mission.
Our missions meant EVERYTHING to us. The growth that we developed there has truly changed our lives. The principles that we taught became firmly rooted in us. Little did we know, that our testimonies of those very principles would be put to the test, in the most unexpected way.

On February 23, 2014, just three days after my year mark of being a missionary, I received the news from my mission president and his dear wife, that my mother, my father, and 2 younger brothers had peacefully passed on from this life into the next. The cause …

Little bit of Chaos

My home is a disaster. (Mom would not be happy with me right now...) Letters, cards and packages from a variety of caring people, wanting to do anything that they can to help. A basketball signed by the BYU Provo basketball team. Things that have been gathered, sitting in the living room, waiting for voyage to D.I. Things that I want to save. Chocolates. Clothes.

Chaos. A little bit how I feel about life.

These past two weeks have been the slowest and yet the fastest that I've ever experienced in my life.

There are 5 steps in the grief:
Denial
Anger
Bargaining
Depression
Acceptance

Simple. Yet complicated. Or, my favorite word... Unfigureoutable. Why? Because we all grieve differently. Some people take control of the situation. Some people handle things well. If you're like me, you go on "shut-down, don't talk to me" mode.

Which may not be the best way to handle a funeral. Because I wanted nothing more than to just run away from the world and hide.

But, who's…

Little Bit Longer

The whistle was piercing as one of the boys accidentally pushed over other teammate in order to get the ball. Another foul shot. Of course, the crowd was not happy. Some fathers were standing and waving their arms, irritated and screaming down to the referee. Mothers were frustrated at the call, commenting to their friends or husbands. Highland against Madison high, and Madison was catching up.

But I wasn't focused on the game. No. Nor did I really care about the calls that the refs made.
I was focused on the Highland basketball team. 
Those boys were growing up so fast. I recognized most of them. I recognized them because they have been in my home as elementary school boys, playing with Keegan. 
Keegan was not playing basketball. He was not out there hustling. Heck, he wasn't even sitting on the bench, frustrated, planning on how he could be a better teammate and player. That was a gift of his. Even if he wasn't the best, he worked harder than anyone else, because he trul…