This past Sunday, while Brian was home for the weekend, we decided to spend some time visiting with Grandma and Grandpa Runnells. While I had no idea that the visit would unfold as it did, it turned out to be one that impacted me deeply.
When we first arrived, Grandpa's niece, Joyce, and her husband were at the house. They were there to check on Grandma and to deliver a prayer shawl that Joyce's church group had made. I haven't met many of the extended Runnells family, so it was a pleasant surprise that we weren't the only visitors at the Runnells house that afternoon.
When it was just the four of us, however, the conversation shifted from stories of the grandchildren (Bri's cousins), the heinous weather and the tennis tournament to stories of Grandma and Grandpa's past. We heard about Grandpa's family of nine children, of walking from place to place because they didn't own a car, and of what the streets of Milwaukee once looked like -- butcher shops, taverns and corner stores. Until that afternoon, I had no idea that Grandma's family ran a grocery store.
As the conversation shifted again, we began to talk about traveling the country and the world. Grandma and Grandpa began sharing stories of many of their adventure, from national parks to train trips out west and days walking through the streets of Paris. As they shared the countless travel adventures they've had as husband and wife, Grandpa also paused to remind us to enjoy each and every day and to do what we want and see what we dream of seeing while we can.
The very insightful words Grandpa shared that afternoon reminded me that Brian and I are doing the right thing in life. Since the earliest days of our marriage, we have committed ourselves to living life to the fullest. In fact, just the other day, I found the letter Brian gave to me on our wedding day; in it, he expressed how much he appreciated the sense of commitment and adventure I have -- what he left unsaid, however, was how much he inspires both of those ideals in me. It turns out that he is a Runnells through and through. I truly hope to have a life like Grandma and Grandpa Runnells. I hope that one day we have the kind of stories they have; I hope that we will continue to have a life like they have had, one filled with love, laughter and exploration.
What seemed to be little more than a visit with our grandparents turned out to be a lot more, lessons in life and love, thanks to two people who have had quite a bit of both!