Isn't God good? Generation after generation He provides a fresh set of grandparents . . . an ever-present counterculture in our busy world. Lest everyone else get so involved they no longer stop to smell the flowers or watch tiny ants hard at work, these special adults are deposited into our life-style account. They've made enough errors to understand that perfectionism is a harsh taskmaster and that self-imposed guilt is a hardened killer. They could be superb instructors, but their best lessons are caught, not taught. Their Christianity is seasoned, filtered through the tight weave of realism, heartache, loss, and compromise. Jesus is not only their Lord, He's their Friend and long-time Counselor. Like a massive tree, they provide needed shade, they add beauty to the landscape, and they don't mind being used. They're there. Even if not much is happening, they are there.
Why all this surge of what some would call sentimentality? Well, my life took on a new dimension not long ago. Another hat was added to those I'm already wearing. It's one that will become increasingly more significant as time passes, I realize. Ryan Thomas was born to our older son and daughter-in-law. A six-pound, eight-ounce grandson who will provide my wife and me a chance to try again . . . only this time with a lot more to give and a lot less to prove. Stretching out in front of us are an uncertain number of years in which we'll be able to reinvest our time and energy, our treasure and love. And even though Webster won't acknowledge the word, grandparenting is now ours to enjoy . . . thoroughly and continually.
It was back in 1961 that God first allowed us to call ourselves parents. How gracious of Him to give us a new title—grandparents. I remember reading back then the words of General Douglas MacArthur, entitled, "A Father's Prayer," a beautiful piece in which the aging leader asks God to build him a son of strong character, humble spirit, a person of compassion, determination, simplicity, greatness. His closing words almost brought tears to my eyes. After claiming all these things by faith, he adds: "Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, 'I have not lived in vain.'"
Today, the same prayer is on my lips and actual tears are on my face. The prayer is for you, little Ryan, as it once was for your daddy. And the tears? Well, you'll have to get used to them, little guy.
That's how it is with granddaddies.