Exhausted but so very content, grateful and filled with hope… awash with memories! After a morning at the Science Museum and a picnic lunch we said our goodbyes.
Tom, Cheryl and the six kids then packed into their SUV for a long drive to Canada. Parental strategy was to get the kids really tired so they’d be content sitting engrossed with their digital devices until falling asleep for the remaining seven hours en route to Winnipeg.
Our time together was less than 48 hours but the experience provided stories that will be recalled, retold and perhaps embellished for years to come. You heard one about 6 y/o Claire expressing sadness about her Grandma Karen’s death in my post yesterday. Here are a couple more:
With watermelon juice dripping onto our backyard deck I asked, “Where are you staying in Winnipeg?” One classically adolescent response flashed forth, “In a hotel!” Then Martha, who will be nine in August claimed her ground in the conversation, “Do you mean that literally or metaphysically?” Before I could close my gaping mouth twelve-year old Aidan harrumphs, “I think she meant metaphorically!” Honest to God — you cannot create better dialogue than this! My jaw is still ajar.
The kids requested Asian food for dinner so we headed off to our favorite buffet. The selection never disappoints; the colors are tantalizing; seeing is so much easier than reading a menu; and let’s get real, the price is right. After surveying the many heaping plates spilling onto our table, I randomly glanced to the left. There at the end was 4 y/o Evelyn adeptly digging into her choices with chop-sticks! Honestly! At her age I didn’t know rice came any other way than pudding with cinnamon — and you ate with silverware!
Saying our goodbyes, Tom again reiterated his request for us to come to Omaha to celebrate my 65th Birthday with them in August. That conjured a sobering thought I had quieted numerous times these days. I love these kids! Yet as I wipe watermelon from my chin, delight in their dexterity with Asian cuisine or stand in awe of Aidan and James building a geodesic dome (without instructions) at the Science Museum; I struggle with the fact that I will not live long enough to see what truly becomes of these children who mean the world to me.
All I have is hope! I have hope because there are families and children like these. I have hope their global awareness and insatiable curiosity will make the world a more peaceful and just planet than the one my generation is leaving them. More than happiness, I hope they know love.
I hope they will learn every bit as much as they can. Then, I hope they use their considerable intelligence to serve others and not just themselves. I hope they become so grounded in their family, neighborhood, school and churches that they spontaneously create better cities, nations and a global community in which each and all have a place at the buffet table.
Personally, I hope — I really do hope — that I can remain intellectually curious, psychologically nimble, embracing of a changing world, letting go of my need to control, define or judge. I strive to embrace something more than optimism — rather, I hope always to rest in the assurance that others are now in charge. Someday, I hope to yield to the One who is the Other.
Finally, here is what I really hope these children know more and more throughout their lives:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails… now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1Cor 13:1-13)