"But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. " Isaiah 49:14-16 KJV
Last night was a moment I will treasure for as long as my soul exists, and I trust that is forever!
Just before my wife and I departed the home of our two grandchildren, it was our task to put them both to bed, as their parents had not yet returned from a well deserved evening together.
LaDonna tucked in Caroline, the sleeper of the two, while Little John and I first went over the cue cards he had prepared earlier last evening. He wanted me to quiz him one more time before bed. I called out author names as he then named their books. I was impressed with his desire to be his best for an after-school competitive team he is now a part of.
However, we both knew it was a ploy, a strategic delay to keep me in his room a little longer. Afterwards, he gathered around him the stuffed animals still critical to his nightime security, though now in fourth grade. He then snuggled up close to this Poppi, laying his arm across my chest, knowingly limiting my plans for escape once he drifted off.
I prayed a childlike prayer over him and then lay still hoping he would drift off to sleep deep enough that I could carefully unravel my body from alongside this most precious possession of my life! He needed his sleep and I needed to escape as soon as his patents returned.
My God, why was I not more aware of how precious such moments were when I was a young dad. I would have spent far more time snuggling with my only child, John's mom.
I surely knew that those moments were rewarding, but I needed my rest when I came in late at night from meetings, all thought necessary in the pursuit of my career, to include service to my community and above all, my church.
Now, at 75 I truly have had an amazing professional journey, been blessed financially, served for years in multiple leadership roles, even to include becoming mayor in our small town.
As well, I have coached numerous pastors and helped literally in the build out a couple of church campuses.
However, nothing compares with a grandson who snuggles and clings to you whenever possible.
That my friend is real life!
Unpacking spiritual truths, coaching young entrepreneurs, encouraging pastors in this tough moment for the institutional church, enjoying the rewards of true community service...none of that matters, if family goes unattended.
What does that have to do with the text above?
Everything! For when on mornings like this, as an old dude like me reflects on what really matters, struggling with a desire to fully unpack his soul for the sake of legacy, hoping for sufficient window remaining in order to add blessing from lessons learned, it's good to know God has you in the palm of his hand.
I take strength in knowing that I am loved by my Father, held close to the breasts of my Mother, nourished sufficient for this last season's vision and calling.
When I awake, though ten times older than Little John, I find strength anew when I open the Book. I find the ear of the Ancient of Days attuned to my soul. Oh, and knows me by name, ever awaiting my rising, perhaps anticipated moreso even than Little John's loving attempts to delay my leaving!
When I question my life journey, surfacing at times the regret of moments missed, generational learnings lost by the life struggles of those through whom I was birthed, I can still have my hope and strength renewed!
I can do this, for I am not alone in this thing called life.