This past week, my dear friends, Mary and Chris and their kiddos, from St. Louis came to visit us and were able to meet many of the people we are beginning to know and love here at our vicarage site. It was so good and encouraging to be with them and to introduce them to our new digs.
The moment they got into their van to drive home, though, my feelings of loneliness came creeping back. But equally present was a feeling of emerging contentment. The only way I could describe it to Mary was: “I am so grappy.”
Grappy is my new favorite, made-up word. Autocorrect keeps changing grappy to grapy, which I assume means something that reminds you of the taste of a grape. That is not what I am talking about. Grappy means the feeling of being happy and grumpy at the same time. Not to be confused with grappy’s voiceless counterpart crappy. Crappy, as you know, is all the grumpy without the happy.
The reason I like my new word is that it also reminds me of the general qualities of a grandpa. Every man in my life who qualifies as a grandpa seems to have the common characteristic of also being in a continuous state of grappiness.
For instance, my father has the unique ability to truly enjoy the company of my kids (his grandchildren) and simultaneously complain about their noise, their smell, and their general lack of maturity. He’s grumpy, but he’s also happy.
My father-in-law is the same – a grappy granddad. He loves his family and friends, but has been known to say “family is like fish, after three days they start to stink.” (He usually reminds me of that on day four.)
So grappiness is not necessarily a bad quality. It’s actually quite endearing and grandfatherly. If grappiness were a flavor, it’d be old spice mixed with brut 33 and coffee breath. It’s just that I prefer not to stay in this state of being for too long, for fear that I may become gruff and socially inappropriate and start growing grayish facial hair.
In an effort to try to clear my head and get rid of my grappy attitude, I went for a run this afternoon. Running or any kind of exercise always seems to help with stress or anxiety. The problem today, however, was that the more I ran, the larger the lump in my throat felt. And it’s hard to run (or breathe) when your throat starts to tighten.
My grappiness was definitely dispersing, but instead of a sense of calm taking over, like I was hoping for, my currently popular feeling of loneliness seemed to have the upper hand.
It was at about that moment that I saw a large and gray old man walking an equally old and gray dog. He was traipsing towards me with his wispy, white hair and beard flopping in the wind. His whole demeanor was definitely grappy. Forgetting it was the afternoon, I greeted him with a “good morning.” As I laughed at my mistake, he smiled and gruffly said, “Well, it’ll be morning soon enough.”
There is something to be said about being grappy. Sometimes being grappy is exactly where you need to be – for a time. For me, right now, being grappy is the most natural response to the feelings I have about our difficult move and our blessed new circumstances. I happen to be in a sort of afternoon between two great sunrise experiences. It’s not quite the beautiful morning that I prefer but that doesn’t mean the morning won’t come. It just means I need the patience to wait for it.
… like grass that is renewed in the morning ~Psalm 90:5
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning ~Lamentations 3:22-23