A ten-year-old girl asked, "Momma, when is Daddy coming home?"
Mother shook her head, saying, "Your father doesn't live here anymore."
"Why? Doesn't he like us?"
"You're too young to understand grown-up problems. Please don't ask questions. It's over and done, and it's not going to change."
If she could talk to her daddy, would that make a difference? Would it matter if he knew how much she needed him? Momma said it was over, but was it really?
She grew into a young woman. She treasured the rare moments with her father. She and her siblings were scattered to family members who would care for them, even for a short time. The family was broken, but God could still fix it if He would. Maybe it's not over yet.
When she announced her upcoming wedding, she gave him the honored place of father of the bride, even though they had spent little time together. He came, wearing a simple brown suit, and performed his role. Then came the photos. How does a photographer determine the placement of parents who are no longer a couple?
The calendar pages kept turning, into the years of raising children. The young mother encouraged her children to keep in touch with their grandparents, but it was a one-sided effort. Christmas and birthday cards, sometimes a cash gift. It was too far to come for a visit. The bonds between generations did not exist.
One spring, in the space of eight days, the oldest grandchild graduated from college, then the youngest was honored as valedictorian in her high school graduation, followed by the marriage of the oldest the following day. Their grandparents were notified well in advance, so they could schedule time to share these milestones. Grandma came, but Grandpa didn't even put it on the calendar. His new wife insisted he accompany her to her own family's events.
The divorce may be final, but for the next generation, it's not over.
The young mother moved into the middle age years, when the young are launched into the world, and the older generation becomes more dependent, less capable of managing their own affairs. The grandparents are now in their final years. Illness and aging have resulted in both entering long-term care, within the same month, but in two different states. They barely remember they were once married to each other. Their children, with their own grandchildren to hug and support and encourage, also make time to care for their elderly parents, in honor of the Lord of life and family.
Her children, the grandchildren, are adults with young families now. They feel no obligation to keep in touch with absentee grandparents. They say, "I loved the gifts of money at Christmas, but I would much rather have known the people, spent time with them."
Life is a series of beginnings, middles and ends. Endings often lead to new beginnings, after the struggles in the middle. While most children have fond memories of special times with grandparents, these grandchildren only remember distance and indifference. There have been too few deposits of time and love through the years, not enough treasured moments for the younger generation. The old folks wish their grandchildren would come for a visit. The grandkids wonder why they should, when they have nothing in common. No shared memories. No lifestyle connections.
The end is near. Great-grandparents will go the way of all people, and the next generation, the little girl who longed for a daddy, will be the oldest generation. Because of the work of Christ, hers is a strong family tied together in His love. Gratitude for the Lord's provision is still tinged with regret for the family that could have been, if only...
When the older ones pass on, no fond memories remain to carry to a future generation.
Then, the divorce will be over, finally.
Matthew 19:4-6, 8 - And He answered and said,... “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? ... What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” ... He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.
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