Weeks ago I witnessed a boy and his father(or possibly his grandfather)spending time together at a neighborhood pool. The images have remained vividly with me since that time. They sat dangling their legs from the side of the pool, or the adult would swim with boy on back as the boy squealed with delight. Or they would walk around the outside of the pool hand in gentle hand. And all the while the boy would chatter on about things that matter to a little boy and the man would listen patiently nodding his head responding here and there strategically, and the two were so totally given to each other that I marvelled at how the man could maintain so much interest for so long on a such a hot endless afternoon. Sometimes there's nothing small at all about smalltalk. (I remember our baseball coach telling us to "talk it up" to encourage a pitcher or batter depending whether we were on the field or in the dugout. Chatter was a healthy "vital sign' for a team as it is in a relationship. Though periods of silence can be appropriate too.) What was is that so intrigued me about their relationship? For sure it was a connection exemplary and attentive, and perhaps increasingly rare in our day and age. But more than that I think God was speaking to me through it that such was the kind of relationship He desires with and through me. I read that Mr Rogers of "Mr Roger's Neighborhood" spent a similar afternoon once with his grandfather. At the end of it his grandfather turned and told him that he had thoroughly enjoyed that time because "you were just being yourself, Fred, and there is nobody quite like you." That statement changed young Fred Rogers forever and eventually millions of other young lives as well. There is nobody that can have the relationship with God that you or I can have. In fact, nobody can even come close!
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Very well written,
My two sons gave me and my wife an emotional call within a few days of each other. They had both caught my two grandsons telling lies about events my sons did not witness recently. My grandsons each insisted that their testimony was true, and both my sons reminisced the decades earlier when they insisted that their lie was truthful and that I could not know it was not.
My sons did not know their two calls were identical, nor that my silent listening was based as much upon concealing my sobs as much as it was upon my interest in hearing their gratitudes.
Both sons confessed their composure to hide their rising rage while my grandsons insisted their lies were true, and both my sons told me how they relived their moments in time when my grandsons burst into tears, confessed their lies, and asked, “How did you know, Dad?”
Twice, in a matter of a few days, my sons each spoke of the strange but wonderful feelings after each encounter, that they were me and my grandsons were them, decades ago. Both sons hugged my crying grandsons and explained again, as my own father had explained to me, “You are too young to know that I have been there and done that, my son. Someday you will remember this when your sons think you cannot know.”
Strange thing about the source of all our identities (John 5:30). We cannot RE-cognize an identity unless we first knew it (John 5:37-38).