Saturday, June 6, 2009

Life Goes On

Following a busy weekend about 1991, I jumped into my car and made a solo drive to Minnesota--six hundred miles. I arrived mid-afternoon. Once there, I focused on my reason for leaving my wife at home working--meet Kody. I had driven across the country to visit with the grandson I had given up ever having. He had arrived two weeks earlier--my wife present. Now, it was my turn!

I surprised myself by adjusting quickly to the size of his tiny body. I loved the feel of his tiny fingers clenched around mine, as I compared his miniature hands and feet with my adult-sized hands. I savored the tender feelings he aroused in me as he pressed his way against my neck and under my chin. At bedtime, I finally sent dad and mom to bed, fully confident I could handle any emergency. Grandma had her turn earlier and now I joyfully tended my grandson; it was my turn!

When he became a little restless, as babies will do, I accepted it as a rare privilege. I was keenly aware I would not always have such opportunities. I had already waited fifteen years to graduate to “grandpa” and I wanted to pack sixty seconds into every minute, so I absorbed his presence. I draped his little form across my shoulder for the next three hours and we sat, and rocked, and stood, and walked. All the while, I caressed him lovingly, petting him, bouncing him ever so gently, and frequently nuzzling him.

Knowing that his parents had played music for him long before he was born, I talked to him and softly sang, “Jesus loves me, this I know. . .” I wanted Kody to know the sound of my voice and the warmth of my body. I wanted him to know me, and identify with me. I wanted him to feel comfortable with me, although I live a hard day’s drive in another state. Eventually, I hoped he would discover the Jesus whom I have served for more than half a century.

We acquainted ourselves thoroughly and our three days fairly raced by. Thursday morning - I stepped quietly into his room, bent down, kissed him for the very first time, and walked somberly but briskly to my car. Taking a couple of quick photos of the house, I started the car and turned it toward East River Road. In minutes I was quickly headed home to my waiting congregation.

I was returning home much different than when I left. I felt renewed and invigorated, rather than diminished. I left behind a living embodiment of my future, the newest male heir of three men, each of whom was the last male heir of his generation. I silently prayed for God to guide Kody’s steps into Kingdom purposes, while pushing on, anxious to be with grandma and my church family.

Later we rocked and [you] rode around Anderson, IN. attending North American Church Convention. There were countless trips to the animal zoo in Three Rivers--other tours around Minneapolis--little insignificant events like skipping rocks across the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi near Fridley--interstate trips.

Then, there were those funny times when you outsmarted Grandpa and made him think you really wanted to take a nap. That was the time you figured out how to get rid of Grandpa and get him off your case so you could get up that ladder and onto the top of the house where Dad was helping shingle Grandpa’s house.

There were visits to your school, lunching in the school cafeteria, and hearing the teachers brag on what good students you and your brother were. The years were passing by like the spaceship Columbia. Suddenly, you were no longer simply a good student, you were King of the Court at Fridley High’s Spring event.

That was yesterday. This week, you put that all behind you, mingling your past into the flowing currents of adult life. Proudly, you walked across the stage at Fridley High School, took your diploma in hand, moved your tassel to the other side, and walked away--a graduate. You departed that stage an adult, headed for secondary education, and a lifetime of adulthood.

I am the proud grandfather of a fine young man--class 2009. As you increase, and I decrease, remember the words of Saint Paul, who announced, “I do not set aside the grace of God” (Galatians 2:21). Wherever life takes you, be it a World Trade Center catastrophe or ordinary issues of life and death, always allow your life to be a conduit for piping God’s grace to those who will accept its renewing power.

Like Paul, be renewed “so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:15). Stay connected to God’s great refinery of loving grace and be a pipeline for his grace wherever you go. Quietly, consistently, flow in high tide and low, always experiencing His stabilizing presence--renewed daily while also empowering others to live victoriously.

Pictured above are the Warner brothers, the King's Court, and the King and Queen. From Warner’s World, this is Grandpa Wayne

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