My God-Sized Dream: With Love

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV)

It’s been nearly 27 years since he first walked into my life, and many of those little details have faded far into the shadows of my eight year-old past.

It was one of the first days of third grade, and I sat in my seat in the second row, a quiet and shy girl with way-too-long, brown hair that I would often twist around my finger while I chewed on the end of my pencil, while learning of course. :) (Can we say easily distracted? ;))

There was a little knock on the classroom door, and a man walked in. I remember thinking he looked like a grandpa.

Through some quick introductions from our teacher, Mrs. D, we found out that “Grandpa Don” was her father-in-law and that he was going to help out in our class two days a week.

I don’t really remember the beginning of our time with him as much. He would come to our class and help out, he would play with us at recess, he would eat lunch with us.

But it wasn’t long before he became so popular that we had to start drawing names for who got to sit by him. I’ll never forget the day it was my turn. :)

For some reason, the two of us connected.

I can’t, to this day, explain why…other than the fact that God must have told Grandpa Don how much I needed him for a friend.

He would show up at my house on Saturdays, bring me chocolate ice cream, and then he’d set up the lawn darts in our front yard and show me how to play. (I was really bad.)

He would take me fishing and to Taco John’s.

Once he went to the store and bought me a new headband because I’d broken mine on the playground that morning. (Probably doing a headfirst flip from some piece of now-banned playground equipment. ;))

We would sit on the front porch of the cream and brown house on Park Street house and talk for a long time; sometimes my dad would join us, too.

He had stories, and I remember hanging on to every word.

The funny thing is that, almost three decades later, I don’t remember those stories.

I remember the love.

Third grade ended, and I missed seeing my friend. Once in awhile he would show up at the fourth grade building to help out, and he would still come by on Saturdays here and there, always with chocolate ice cream. That continued through fifth grade, too.

The middle school years passed, high school arrived, and I’d see him at his grandkids’ basketball games or here and there around town…and during my sophomore year, I heard that he was sick. Dying, sick.

He was gone a few months later, and I cried. A lot. (I still cry.)

And, almost nineteen years ago to the day he left us, I sit down to remember him in this space. (And keep the tissues close.)

You could take the time to ask anyone who spent a significant amount of time in my hometown, and they would remember him…for he left a mark. Not with grand achievements or through personal gain…but in the way he loved others.

Grandpa Don wasn’t a dreamer in the BIG sense, as so many of us might view dreamers.

He’d had a successful career, and upon retirement, decided to use his days to give back…to make a difference. To love.

There was a day, about a decade ago, when I was out at the cemetery and went to look for his stone. I knew the approximate area where it was located, and when I found it, a twinge of sadness set in.

A small plaque with his name, dates of birth and death staring up at me.

This man, one who had given of himself so much, was remembered with a simple plaque, nothing more. Everything in me wanted to scream, But he was so much more than that!

And he was.

It wasn’t about the rewards on earth for my beloved Grandpa Don…it was simply about love. About doing all things with that love.

And I will never, ever forget him or the way he inspired me to love.


Each day I walk this path that my Father has placed before me.

Sometimes I’m obedient and step exactly where He’s planned; other days, I take a little (or not-so-little) detour.

I’ve talked about my dream…to see my book in print, to share my stories, to tell you about what my Father did in my heart and life, despite the fact that my heart and life didn’t always reflect Him.

But, ultimately…if I could only ever choose one thing to strive for…it would be love.

The kind of love that leaves people better than they were…the kind of love Grandpa Don showed to so many. The kind that mirrors the love of my Father.

I wish I had a picture of my Grandpa Don…just a small way to remember my friend.

But I don’t…and now, I remember him in my heart. One that, I’m sure, is better because I was loved by him.

And I can best honor my friend, and my Father, by choosing that love in my life every single day as I strive for a dream God has planted deeply in my heart.

Father, please help me to do all things in the power of Your Love.

Holley asked us this week to think about someone whose journey toward a dream had inspired us and share their story. I thought about a lot of people, but being the heart-writer I am, I wanted to write about someone who’d had an important impact, personally, in my life. You can read more from my dreaming sisters by clicking on the link below. I hope you’ll join us!

God-Sized Dreams



  1. Ah, Mel, what a wonderful tribute! He sounds like an incredible man, and I love that he touched your heart so deeply. What a blessing to have this model of love. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Wow Mel, what a sweet post, and what an incredible man! I love how you said, “he left a mark. Not with grand achievements or through personal gain…but in the way he loved others.” I can think of no greater mark to leave behind in this world, than such love! I am so inspired by this! Thank you for sharing :)

  3. I hope above all I can be an example of love to those around me. Grandpa Don sounds like an extraordinary man. People like him are so inspiring and make you realize what’s really important in this world, and why Jesus put so much emphasis on loving others..he knew we would need it. Such a beautiful post!! I’ve been blessed by reading it :)

  4. Grandpa Don’s love and legacy lives on through you. Thank you so much for sharing him and your memories with us.

  5. Wow, what an amazing story! You were/are so blessed to have him in your life and in your heart to this day.

    P.S. I saw you listed me in your favorite spaces. That is so sweet! Thanks!

  6. Love. You have learned it beautifully and you shared about it well. I wish we could get a picture for you someone how. May your heart carry the encouragement for many years to come.

  7. Mel..
    I wanted you to know you demonstrate love. In fact I wanted a hug tonight so I came to your blog because I felt like I would get one just reading your words.. thank you :-)

    • Oh, Jenn…you have no idea how many times I’ve wanted to give you a real hug in the last week. You and your family continue to be in my prayers…love you, friend!

  8. Love is the best legacy…and something to strive for! :) Thanks for sharing, Mel!

  9. Inspiring. Love this perspective…yes, love. A truth I needed to hear. Thank you for being brave enough to hit the ‘publish’ button! :)

  10. What a beautiful tribute to someone so special to you.
    thank you for sharing this with us today.

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