I didn’t have a Daddy so God gave me Papa. I never knew my real father because my parents were divorced when I was a baby, so Papa became the man in my life from my earliest memories. He was my Mother’s father. Stuart Grady Moretz was born in 1898, the eldest of nine children, into a farming family in the North Carolina mountains. Although he was born to strategically miss both World Wars, he was very much a part of the Greatest Generation. He served on the home front in all capacities that were needed to keep a rationed world going, with a far-away war taking our resources and manpower. He possessed the morality and values of another place and time and was both a gentleman and a gentle man.
In my adult years, looking back, I realize how many seeds were planted by that man who lived his life in humble dignity. I learned from him the power of love. He showered it so readily on my grandmother, my mother and me. It later extended to my children, who sadly harbor very few memories of him before he went to be with the Lord.
Although not large in statue, he cast a very big shadow. He lived his life in a God honoring way. He respected and cherished his marriage. His kindness was always extended to all regardless of their race or station in life. He made church a priority and always gave his first fruits to its mission. He served others with joy. He gave generously of his time and his talents to help others. He worked hard all of his life and knew the value of the borrower not being slave to the lender and modeled this proverb. He was a conservationist of resources before it became a social incentive to do so. He did it because it was right to be a steward of what God had given him. All of these qualities can actually be ascribed to both of my grandparents. I believe that my grandfather was a driving force and together they were even stronger.
It is now common knowledge about the importance of a father figure in every child’s life. A little girl needs to be the early apple of someone’s eye. She needs a father to cherish her, guide her, inspire her, and believe in her to help set her on the course of life. No, I didn’t have a father, but I most definitely had a Papa and he did all of those things for me. I am so thankful that God gave me such a great one. There is verse that resonates with me about my grandfather because of the way that he lived his life:
“always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” ~ 1 Peter 3:5
And because I had a Papa, I found a man just like him to marry so that my sons would have a Daddy. Papa would be so happy to know that he was my inspiration.