Two things happened that motivated me to write this entry. First, my good friend David McCain wrote a blog recently titled “The Winter of My Own Discontent.” Dang it, as usual he got me to thinking. I hate it when he does that. Secondly, my grandson’s grandfather died. These two events sorta set the mood for my thoughts as I began writing this entry.
Life doles out certain resources to each of us. Whether or not we get to enjoy or use them is another story; nevertheless, one of these resources is each one of us is given two sets of grandparents. Perhaps that’s God’s way of giving us a spare in case one of them wears out. Unfortunately, these resources are fleeting; they don’t last long. I never had a grandfather. Both of mine died when I was very young—only an infant (not a good family history.) My grandmothers left my world when I was just a child; so, I remember them. By the time I was a young man, all my grandparents were gone.
Linda and I are the only grandparents my grandkids have now. Their other granddad died last Thursday. If they are to gain any grandfatherly wisdom for the rest of their life journey, they will have to get it from me, now. I consider that a severe handicap for them and an awesome responsibility for me. I suppose they were lucky to have had two granddads for as long as they did. The youngest grandkid is fifteen and the oldest is going on twenty-one.
How in the world did I get to this place? It seems that one day I was graduating from high school and then suddenly today I sit here as the lone representative granddad. It happened so fast. The Bible says, “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
I don’t want to be a mist; I want to be an ocean that endlessly washes the seashore, reducing great boulders into beautiful white beaches. It takes eons to do that. But, I don’t have eons to crash against a craggy shore. The fact is that you and I are the mist that settles in the cool valleys and disappears before the noon sun races into the afternoon. No amount of power, no amount of money, no amount of celebrity, and no amount of influence can change the mist into an ocean.
So, is it worth it? I mean if life is fleeting, is it really worth all the trouble? Philosophers have debated that for centuries. Each of them has come up with answers. I don’t know if any of them are right; they probably all are. All I believe is that each one of us has to answer that question for ourselves. For a bunch of reasons, I’ve determined that this brief flash of ours in world history does have value to it. It does have worth. What we do and how we live is worth it. It is because life is so brief and fleeting that it matters how we live. It matters that, to the best of our ability, we leave an inheritance to those who come after us. And, that is not necessarily an inheritance measured by money, but rather an inheritance measured by integrity and respect and love. If we can teach our grandchildren to be honest, consider the self-worth of others, and be compassionate—if we can do that to even a small degree—then our fleeting mist will be well worth it.
It’s kinda depressing on this side of life’s journey to realize we don’t have the luxury of time to waste. In my youth, the abundance of time seemed limitless. The mist in my life was on the distant horizon and of little concern. However, the daily plod of the journey has brought the horizon to the forefront and caused me to take stock of my course, lest I crash upon the rocks earlier than I expected. As David mentioned in his blog, we sometimes feel “out of place” on this side of the journey. We are easily depressed. After all we are not finished doing what we wanted to or sought to accomplish; we never will be. So, I’ve just determined to concentrate on being a resource…for as long as I can. I’m the only living relic that my grandkids have regarding their heritage (Linda is still with me, however, for my own safety, I would never call Linda a relic.) I’m not finished yet with my work. I will never be finished until my last breath; and even then I plan to keep on working through my writings and inheritance. Yeah, it’s worth it.