I’m so grappy.

Mary and Chris

Mary and Chris

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.

My grandfather,

My grandfather, “poppop,” holding Josiah as a baby

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.

My dad reading to the grand-kids on Christmas morning.

My dad reading to the grand-kids on Christmas morning.

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.)

A favorite pic of granddad - holding the kiddos who momentarily would all be screaming.

A favorite pic of granddad – holding the kiddos who momentarily would all be screaming.

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.

My grandfather with baby Reuben

My grandfather with baby Reuben

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



Filed under Homelife, Miscellaneous thoughts, Spiritual thoughts

3 responses to “I’m so grappy.

  1. Walt

    So… does this make me “Grap-pa?”

  2. Susan Schoenfuhs

    Ahhh…grappiness. Great new word that I’m sure everyone has experienced at one time or another. One time I felt it with a vengeances was when, just before my 40th birthday, our family had to move from the peaceful, calm, serene setting of southwest NH to the “Big, Bad city of Chicago.” Having grown up on a farm I had never really ever wanted to live in a city. I didn’t mind visiting the city, but I certainly didn’t want to LIVE there. And suddenly there I was faced with living in one of the largest cities in the USA. I had to navigate this foreign environment feeling as if I was all alone; no job, no close friends, little, very little, green space, and a husband and children who were immediately consumed by a job and school. I had no teaching job to get me out of the house and my fear of the city helped keep me locked in the house. When I did venture out, inevitably something unpleasant seemed to happen; like people yelling at me in the grocery store (who yells at other shoppers in a grocery story????) or people flipping me the bird while I was driving! (And my driving is NOT that bad. Anyone who has ever driven in Chicago knows how quick Chicagoans are to flip someone off for little to NO reason.) After these outings I would lock myself in the house, cry, and ask God if He really knew what he was doing. Yes, I had a grand old self pity party for several months. It wasn’t pleasant, but I think it may have been necessary. It did drive me into the quiet of the house where I had lots of time to talk to God. And as I talked through my anxiety with God, He listened in love and gently led me to understand that while I may not love city life, living in the city was where He wanted me to be for now. There were tasks He had planned for this time in my life that were in the city and the community. He helped me remember to count my blessings and to trust that He did, in fact, know exactly what He was doing. Then He, as always, added to those blessings by giving me new friends, a new teaching job, and a joyful heart, to name just a few of many blessings. Oh, yes, I have had other moments here in the city when I have had worse than “grappy” experiences, but I have learned that through it all and in it all God is faithful to give me what’s best for my life. So like you, I have to work at being patient and trusting and confident in my hope “…that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) So Rachel, be bold and confident that you are exactly where the Father wants you to be. He is using you to bless others, just as He will use others to bless you and bring glory and honor to His Holy name!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s