Following in Another's Footsteps

By Tom Attig

My children's grandfather on their mother's side, Bernie, was wise, kind-hearted, gentle, and a good story-teller. He delighted the kids and had a special affection for each. When my daughter Sheryl was little, he admired her gymnastic abilities, drew stick-figure cartoons of her, and called her "Rubber Legs." She loved his affection, attention, and praise, and giggled as he held and teased her. Bernie was also a prominent evangelical theologian with a doctorate in philosophy who taught in seminaries, spoke internationally, and authored over twenty books. When he died, Sheryl was an undergraduate in philosophy, with interests in religion and theology of her own.

In the summer before he died, Sheryl spent a month with Bernie in California reading and discussing theology and related subjects with him. Again, she loved his attention and affection, this time as a maturing young adult. She looked forward to spending more time with him. Unfortunately, that was not possible. When we attended his funeral, Sheryl's grandmother gave her a copy of each of the books he had written and several other items from his library that she will no doubt treasure for years.

Sheryl has now graduated with a masters' degree in theological studies. She hopes eventually to teach and counsel, among other things, about spirituality. She both cherishes and embodies her grandfather's legacy.