Suffering is a great leveler of all mankind. We come to it, and cannot avoid it, eventually looking into the deep wells of pain or despair with grim determination, or a deep sense of failure. Somehow along the road, we have failed to do one thing or another, and this becomes the karmic scale- the cosmic ladle used to dole out whatever our soul needs in the way of ‘cleansing’. Or perhaps from another perspective, it seems that we spend so much of our life learning how to wait, how to tolerate frustration and reign in the impulses that scream for immediate gratification. How youth is wasted on the foolishly youthful. By the time we are old enough to be graced with the gray hairs, and the gentle wisdom born out of the choice to opt out of the tyranny of ‘keeping up’, our own children are grown, bearing the marks of our early ineptness as young and inexperienced parents.
I wish I had known my grandparents- had lived in close vicinity to them, and been able to just ‘drop in’ spontaneously after school for those magical moments of milk, cookies, and secret revelations about my parents that only grandparents are privy to. I wish that I could have benefited from the kindness wrought by their lessons of time. Grandchildren, great-nieces, and all little persons are constant reminders of the faithfulness of God. How that despite our brokenness, we still have second chances to love and be loved with ridiculous and unconditional abandon. We have the opportunities to experience life again through a child’s eyes- watching bees imbibing the nectar of a lavender bush, feeling the warm earth beneath ones feet and smelling handfuls without the care of ‘getting dirty’. We can enter into the joy and wonder of the child seeing and feeling the squash of berry- juice for the first time, and the thrill of wet and liberally bestowed kisses and hugs. Grandparents are a vital link in time and place- at once living reminders of a world that existed in black and white. Grandchildren are truly God’s gift to those of us who, going through miseries untold, find their lives given back to them with a sweetness that only comes from having a child’s unconditional love.
Had I known- I would have learned from them first before becoming a parent.