Sharing hopes for a grandchild
As I get older, the list of what I know for sure continues to shrink — the corollary statement is that what I do know I know with more certainty. On that list is the truth that life is hard on people. The late M. Scott Peck begins his huge bestseller “The Road Less Travelled” with the statement “Life is difficult.” This was written in 1978, the year before I was married. Now, I have had a great marriage but 32 years later I can say that he was right (not a commentary on my wife). Life has not gotten easier. At the same time, there is always reason for joy. Our recent joy has come in the birth of our first grandson this summer. Here are three things I would want him to know:
First, I really don’t know how anyone, unless they are living a highly buffered life due to wealth or a particularly temporary situation, could claim that life isn’t difficult. My first reaction to our grandson’s birth (after the initial celebration) was to pray for his future, particularly the trials and dangers that he will face along the way. These could include and certainly will include some of the following which are not uncommon in life today: imperfect parents, sickness, bad teachers, irresponsible behavior, broken relationships, failures in various ventures, divorce, making parenting mistakes yourself, shame, and of course, death. Life is difficult! I want him to know that he is on a dangerous journey with many challenges. No one gets off easy.
Second, deep down, people still resist the “road less taken.” We, all of us, are tempted to think that life should work the way we want it to and when it doesn’t, we find a way to not accept it. Complaining is always an option. Being angry at God or someone else is an option. However this takes away from receiving the full gift of life. It takes great faith to say “God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.” When I think about my grandson, I want him to know that God is good but that life as we experience it is not always good, or at least it doesn’t seem so. I want him to know that his trials will be the raw material for his character growth and ultimately will be that which produces a legacy footprint in this world. I want him to know that failure is not fatal. I also want him to learn that you can have joy in the midst of hard stuff if you walk through life with God.
The third thing I want him to know is that he is loved. More than anything else, at any one moment in his life, he is loved. Loved by parents and grandparents, friends, and most of all, loved by God. What a gift for a child to enter into. He does not have to earn this love but it is there because of who he is. It is a gift, not something that can be taken away, but not something to be taken for granted either. The knowledge of this love becomes the basis for a secure and joyful life. If he can absorb this love and allow it to become part of the person he is, he will have something wonderful to offer to other people. I want this for him more than anything else.
Isn’t this what you want for your children and grandchildren? Isn’t this what you really want for yourself? In his book, Peck’s thesis is that it is those who embrace the truth that life is difficult, not those who fight it, who have a shot at real joy in this life. That is true, but it isn’t the whole truth. Soon after he wrote “The Road Less Traveled,” Peck became a Christian. He found that the Bible supported his thesis but he also found the source of love that was needed for life. The Bible says this love “is for you and your children and for all who are far off (Acts 2:39).” That includes you and your children. That includes my grandson.
This column is the opinion of Mark Meridith, pastor at Community Covenant Church, which is located at 16123 Artillery Road in Eagle River. Contact them at 696-5229. Gathering services are 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.