Reflections on being a grandfather

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Thanks Phil. You are quite correct. I am a three-month old grandfather of a beautiful girl named "Hannah May." In Belfast, where my daughter and son-in-law live, she is known as Hannah, but in Mississippi, these sweet folk have a penchant for the double name and she's been "Hannah May" since I first announced her middle name!

What are my thoughts about this event? Let me see...

First, I am reminded of a line from Emerson to the effect that "beauty is God's handwriting, a wayside sacrament." Well, not sure about the word sacrament, but the beauty of a young baby is extraordinary. I'm fascinated by the way relatives all point out likenesses (she looks like x, she looks like y), but truth is, there is a uniqueness that speaks of something greater than science can explain. The "miracle" of life is an extraordinary thing to behold. I had quite forgotten what a baby actually "feels" like!

Second, I have joined the obnoxious grandparents who constantly insist on showing pictures of their grandchildren league. It's payback for all the years I've endured looking at pictures of children I have never seen. One of my friends has deployed the "three-month rule" -- no pictures after three months. But this is grossly unfair!

Third, Rodders will squeal no doubt, but there is an ancient Welsh proverb that says that perfect love comes when a grandchild is born. To watch my wife rock a baby to sleep again has been a great delight.

Fourth, I must admit that a generational perspective has crept in. I sometimes think that all of our major life decision are made in our before we end our thirties, and i am now ell past that time of life. I now face the fact that my I am past the mid-point of my life (perhaps well past). It is a curiously sobering thought. Our lives are "three score years and ten" says the psalmist, and that means I have seventeen years left. Of course, they may be less or more, but the point is that I now feel the need to maximize these years in service and usefulness, not content with the good but wanting the best.  

Fifth, "God sets the solitary in families" the psalmist says (Psalm 68:6). These past few months have been precious, experiencing the sense of God's continuing faithfulness, generationally.  

Posted November 30, 2006 @ 2:04 AM by Derek Thomas

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