Friday, August 22, 2014

Your Children's Children

I was reading Psalm 128 this morning which contains this blessing: “May you live to see your children’s children.” Since our granddaughter Abigail Joy was born on July 23, this is the first time I had read this passage and heard it as a blessing realized for our family. Abigail is Jacob and Heather’s first child and the first grandchild for Holly and I. Some of you have a lot of experience in being grandparents or even great grandparents, but it is all new to us. One of the things that I am noticing about myself is that I am thinking longer term than I did before. I certainly cannot predict the future – what will or will not come to pass – but the year 2032 has gained a new meaning for me. That is the year that Abigail will turn 18 and likely will be graduating from high school. I don’t know what the world will be like in 2032, but the fact that someone I love will be turning 18 that year makes me feel invested in it more deeply than I previously was. Whether I am around by then remains to be seen – by then most of my future will be in my past – but I want the best possible future for Abigail. I was thinking of my grandmother recently and how she took her husband’s paychecks from Republic Steel in Niles, Ohio and used some of the funds to buy stocks and bonds. She was a strong willed woman, and I am sure that my Pap didn’t have all that much to say about the matter. The regular bills including house payments got paid on time, but funds were regularly set aside for the future. I am not sure how long Grandma Bane invested in the future, but I am certain that it was way before my birth in 1956. When I went to Harvard Divinity School in 1978, funds were available from her to pay my way. My grandfather’s labor and my grandmother’s stewardship of his wages made sure that one of their “children’s children” could become a minister. And when she died, more funds were there to help a young couple cover some of the costs of raising their first child Jacob – one of her “children’s children’s children.” So often there is so much immediacy and urgency in so many parts of our lives that it is really hard to think much beyond the day, the week, or the month. But children and grandchildren and great grandchildren are reminders to us that there is a future to be lived - if not by us then by those we love and care for. This future is in God’s hands yet I know that God invites us to invest what we have to make it the best possible future for others. JIM

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