Being “Grandpa”

Today as I write (which, I am embarassed to say, is the first time in a LONG time!), I am in Houston, TX visiting my son and his family. It has been almost a year since I have been here to visit them in their native habitat and it has been an absolute tonic for me. Well, with the possible exception of the trip the boys and I made to Austin last night to witness one of the worst University of Missouri football games I have seen in my life. Yeeesh!

But we are not here to dwell on the bad, but rather to celebrate the good! So no more discussion of how a team that hopes to compete at the highest levels of Division I college football even fails to SHOW UP in one of their most important games of the year! And so as Forrest Gump might say, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

It is just great to be able to see how Ethan, and Jack, and Molly have all grown and developed in the past year. At 5, 3, and newly 1 respectively they are bubbling cauldrons of developmental amazement. In the middle of lunch at a local Mexican restaurant yesterday, my son Adam – seated right next to Jack – suddenly looked over and saw a huge wad of chewing gum in his hair. Mind you, Jack had not been chewing gum when we came into the place, so the question naturally came up, “Jack… where did you get that gum?” And of course, Jack’s answer was, “Under the table!”

Fortunately the waiter was able to go find a pair of scissors and so Adam cut the gum out of Jack’s hair while we paid the bill.

I guess one of the things that I most enjoy about being here and hanging out with the “fam” is that I get to be known by titles as well as by my name. Of course, Kelli, my daughter-in-law calls me by my name, but I get to be “dad” to my son(s), and “grandpa” to the grandkids. I guess the thing I like so much about that is that every time one of my titles is used, it speaks to me of connection. And CONNECTION is the key theme in my theological framework.  It speaks of God’s connection between humanity personified in Jesus. It speaks of our call as people to forge deep and caring connections with other people, just as God first connected with us. It speaks of our on-going spiritual quest to connect heaven and earth, life and death, the spiritual and the material through our disciplined pursuit of growth in Christ. “Dad” means, “you are the male parent I am connected to by birth.” “Grandpa” means, “I am the offspring of your offspring and so am connected to you in a direct line of succession.”

I love being “Grandpa.” I love being connected and being reminded of the different ways I am connected to each person on earth. Praise the Lord!

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