Vitauts Take 10: Going to Church

Vitauts Take 10: Going to Church

Vitauts Grinvalds has been going to church for a long time. As a young man, he went to church in Latvia, then, when he came to the UVitauts Blog - 17nited States, he continued going as a congregant until he became a pastor. Then it was church every Sunday for a long, long time. Duty called!

Saturday nights in our house were more sacred than Sundays. Dad would take a bath and go to bed early. His biggest nightmare was waking up late on Sunday and missing service. I can imagine; I too have that nightmare about missing school. It has almost happened once or twice.

So even now, after retirement, he still goes to be early on Saturday and gets up early on Sunday whether he is going to church or not. Old habits die hard.

I have tried to get him to join a church in Omaha, and several other people have encouraged him to do so, but he adamantly refuses. His reason? He doesn’t want to go somewhere where people ask him who is, where he’s from and then welcome him. He doesn’t like to be hassled by strangers, I guess. Introverted? Maybe. He hates attention.

Vitauts and Maija leave flowers at Liesma’s grave

This past Sunday morning, I woke up to find that he was already gone. I figured that he might have gone to Lincoln to his old church. He still does that once every few weeks. He drives down to Lincoln to go to the service and visit his wife’s grave at Wyuka cemetery. On this particular day, he returned at about 11 a.m., much too early to have been to church and back, and he announced, “There was no service this morning.” “Huh,” I said.

Then he went to find the paperwork with the schedule of services. I printed him off the monthly newsletter so he would have a copy. He searched in his room, and then he brought it out and said, “They have made some mistake. It says that there is service today.” He showed me the newsletter, and the next communion service is on October 25th. Today was the 17th. I showed him the calendar because he didn’t believe me. Then, after checking the date on the newspaper, he was satisfied, and he changed the subject. “Next Sunday is Arnold’s birthday.” Arnold is his oldest son who passed away in 1990. “Yup,” I said. Then he proceeded to ask me if I remembered him. I said yes. And I asked, “Do you remember him?”

He responded by saying yes, and then he told me the story of Arnold’s funeral. He said that he had hurt his leg the night before, and could hardly walk for two weeks. I thought about it for a second and realized that he wasn’t talking about his son anymore. His leg injury actually happened before my mom’s funeral. I guess that’s what happens to memories after awhile.

Arnold Grinvalds circa 1985
Arnold Grinvalds circa 1985

One sorrow just blends into another.



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