Back in the late 70’s, my family were members of a GARB (General Association of Regular Baptists) Baptist Church in Tallahassee, FL. I don’t know much about that organization beyond the fact that they tend to be Arminian in belief structure (at least the ones I’m familiar with are). Our pastor, Donald Shawback, became convinced that the Doctrines of Sovereign Grace were in fact what Christ and the apostles preached in the New Testament. Because the church didn’t agree with Pastor’s new-found views, he elected to step down rather than cause a fuss.
My parents were interested in what Pastor had to say, and so from that time until 1980 when we moved to Geneva, AL, every Sunday and Sunday evening saw us have services in the Shawback’s living room. Since they were 20-years older than my parents, they were already like grandparents to us, though we didn’t address them as such until several years later.
After moving to Geneva, the Shawback’s came to visit from time to time. They introduced us to a Bible Study with some army aviators from Ft. Rucker. They also introduced us to sermons from Henry Mahan. OK, I wasn’t so keen on those as a teenager, but today, I really enjoy hearing them.
As the years went on, my life took me far, far away from not only my parents, but any actual contact with the Shawback’s beyond letters and a phone call here or there. That said, the impact they had on me was profound. I don’t know at what point in time I began addressing them as “Grandma Shawback” and “Grandpa Shawback,” but I’m sure it was about the same time my parents began addressing them as “Mom” and “Dad.” They meant that much to us that they were our adoptive parents/grandparents (indeed, Grandpa Shawback was instrumental in getting me through Panic Disorder when it first hit me in 1995).
Today, I got to see them for the first time in maybe 15 or more years. Both are simply amazing at 79 years of age (Grandpa Shawback will be 80 in two months)! They are very active and Grandpa Shawback is still so strong and can make his biceps “jump” at his command. He still travels all over the U.S. and the world and while he hasn’t been a pastor since we left Tallahassee, he has been very involved in supporting missionaries. Indeed, as a skilled interior decorator, he has used his skills to help missionaries he’s visited by upgrading their homes with better kitchens, baths, etc. And he’s even preached in other places with the assistance of translators.
We watched a lot of video (my mom converting their old tapes to DVD) and I was simply amazed. Here Grandpa Shawback is working just about as hard as he’s ever worked and loving the life the Lord has given him. Meanwhile, here I am so bloody lazy, it is pathetic. ^_^;;;
As such, I feel a renewed sense of getting things done. That means working on losing weight (I’m already in a supervised exercise class) and generally getting things done that need getting done. It won’t all get fixed overnight, but Lord willing, I will succeed and be better for it. I think I’ll use this blog to help track my progress, especially on the weight.