Yesterday my 4 year old grandson called me up to tell me he was going to have a baby (brother or sister). I asked if he was going to name the baby Larry. He explained to me that Larry was my name, but if the baby was a girl, the baby would be named Annalea--which was my mom's name, but as my mom died last month, he thought she could spare the name.
The cycle of life becomes particularly apparent at the age of my wife and myself. Babies keep showing up, and parents die. Both Roxanne and myself have had a parent die after a long period of enduring the debilitating effects of old age: Her father with a stroke that left him without speech for seven years and my mother with a dementia for nearly five years. Both were incredibly cared for by their spouses during this time.
We wonder, will we go through the same thing? Which of us will be the caregiver, and who will be the one needing care? Are we up for the heroics of the caring spouse? Can we endure the humiliation of the one cared for?
I've heard that exercise is the magic elixir to stave off everything bad connected to aging. But to do any good, one must sweat. I bicycle to work every day with a back pack and after each ride and regardless of how cold the temperature, my back is sopping wet when I get to the office. So I do sweat.
But I also fall off my bike. On one of my falls, I hit my head causing me to be more bewildered than normal. This last summer when I flew over my handle bars, I was so thankful when I got up that my head was not involved. After couple weeks my daughter told me I had broken my hand as my hand kept getting more sore every time I rode my bike. I wore a cast and then a splint for an awfully long time. The doctor said to me, "You're probably still riding your bike with your cast." Which I was. Apparently he thought bicyclists are obsessive. Which may be true.
But so much nicer than working to prevent the contingencies of our last years on earth are grandchildren. We both delight in being involved in their lives that are expanding every day with new discoveries. Our two year old is a singer. His mama sings to him all the time. Singing is how he interacts with his world. Our oldest grand daughter loves friends. She's always on the lookout for friends. She also sings. She may have never actually heard Hannah Montana, but I think she's just as good. Grand child number two is a thinker. He is a boy and the second born child, so he must harass, but thinking is who he is. He asks questions and loves to share what he knows. At age three I was carrying him while in a concession line at the Metrodome. He got into a conversation with the man in line behind me. Both he and the man were a bit indignant with me as I took my brat (wurst) and left with him while the two of them were still talking.
I hardly know my last grandchild. He just smiles and cries. He cries when he wants to eat, and he really enjoys eating.
Our grand kids love their grandparents which is awfully nice. I did a lot of reading to my kids when they were young. But my one grandson would much rather read to me, which is fine. I tell him if he does the reading, I get to choose the book.
The writer of proverbs tells us that "the splendor of old men is their grey hair" and that "grey hair is a crown of glory, the reward of a righteous life." If it wasn't in the Scriptures, I might disagree. I do know that my life on planet earth is less than the some of its parts. I find neither despair or hope here on this earth. The best is not enough. The worst is what can be expected. My hope is in heaven. I catch little glimpses of that hope every day.
Most mornings nowadays I wake up a little bit glum. But every morning I read something in the Scriptures that make me happy. Today I read, "Behold, now is the favorable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation."
I like the word "behold." It's a word I find only in the Bible. To me it means, "Wake up here. Pay attention and observe right now what is going on." And exactly what is going on? God working for us, and moving us to Himself--right now.