In my last post, I reflected on a visit by my four siblings and the value of family. The day I posted my reflections, a new family value entered my life: my first grandchild was born.
I grew up without any grandfather in my life. My mother’s father died when she was a child and my grandmother never remarried. My father’s father lived in a distant state and for various reasons had little contact with our family. There is one old picture of me stiffly standing next to my grandfather, but I have no memory of the visit. So I no direct experience of grandfathering.
But I did see how my father loved his grandchildren. Even though he and my mother were in distant Washington state, they made frequent trips to Minnesota to see their three grandchildren. My son, Jonathan, got the special attention since he was bit older and they shared a definite love of baseball and any outdoor activity. They camped and hiked together, enjoying the wonder of God’s creation. Jonathan loved his FarFar (Norwegian for “Father’s Father).
When my father entered hospice care for cancer, it was Jonathan, age eight, who wanted to travel with me for his final days. As he sat by his grandfather’s bed, Jonathan told him about how the baseball season was progressing and especially how Ken Griffey, Jr. was playing. His deep abiding love for his FarFar survives to this day.
As I held my new grandson Tuesday, waves of emotions and thoughts rolled over me. Jack Keller is Jonathan’s son. I marveled at the wonder and beauty of a new-born child. I thought about the years to come: taking Jack camping and hiking, perhaps even running in a road race with Jack and Jonathan someday. At a deep level I felt my Dad’s memory and his joy in holding Jonathan some 26 years ago.
My brothers and sisters were able to see and hold Jack before scattering. As my brother Robert held Jack he expressed what many of us felt. “I feel like crying; this is so special and unique.” Family continues to hold value, from generation to generation. After all, God created us to be connected through the generations.
The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. (Exodus 34:6-7)
Lord Jesus, thank you, thank you, thank you, for each new generation.