Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“[Jesus] said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these…’ And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.”
Mark 10: 14, 16
It’s dark outside. “Actually…” as my granddaughter Hannah would begin a sentence when she is about to make a gentle correction with something I just said or which she heard—”it is pitch black outside this morning”—as I sit here this morning reflecting on the events of the next few days which will encompass the celebration of Hannah’s fourteenth birthday.
It was also dark outside that morning fourteen years ago when we received Nathan’s call telling us that our daughter-in-law was going into labor with our first grandchild. Lynda and I were ready; and loaded the already-packed bags into our car, with enough packed so we were prepared to stay just in case the kids needed us to help out when they returned home from the hospital.
As we waited in our designated pen of seclusion within the hospital—the waiting room—I sensed a “Godly” urging to go downstairs to the labor and delivery area which is ordinarily restricted from public access—and grandparents, if you can believe that—by locked and coded doors. And so I followed the urging of what had to be His Spirit, went downstairs, and stood outside of the access doors to the labor and delivery area. And then, appropriately and “mysteriously,” they swung wide-open, allowing me to enter nearer to that sacred ground where our first grandchild was soon to be introduced to the world, and to us.
There I found myself, standing in that hallway fifty feet away from the very delivery room, and at the very time—as it turned out—that our precious first grandchild was entering the world.
And then I heard a baby’s cry.
We didn’t know whether to expect a little girl or boy—Nathan and Amy wanted to be surprised. And so as I stood there, I prayed for the baby’s health and the health of her mom and dad, for the baby’s life and for wisdom and courage for Amy and Nathan, and others to always protect, make Godly decisions, and always seek the best for this precious child. I remember praying for the heart and future of my first grandchild—whose cry I know I had just heard—and for that time when our grandchild would come to know Jesus Christ, personally.
Moments after I had returned upstairs to where I was supposed to stay, Nathan arrived on the scene to announce that the doctors were cleaning up his “two girls.” Our first grandchild was a little girl! All was well, and our 20 ½ inch long, 8 lbs. 3 ½ ounce precious bundle of potential was healthy and here for us to hold and adore for the rest of our lives.
I had heard it said, and had witnessed it in others, that it was an experience beyond understanding—being a grandparent, that is. Most grandparents I know feel that way. But it remained simply an abstract impression to me, until that moment where it became a real and personal experience on July 9, 1999 at 12:33 p.m.
In that moment, I realized a love, courage and compassion that transcended anything I had known before in all of life—akin to the birth of our son. And on this occasion of the celebration of her birth fourteen years ago, I am reminded of the truth of the words of another truly committed grandparent that—
“Where grandchildren are involved one should not mess with grandparents, for they will go anywhere, do anything, face any adversity, defend against any or anything that would do them harm, climb any mountain and swim any sea for their grandchildren.”
(President Josiah Bartlett, “The Stackhouse Filibuster” episode of The West Wing)
Webster’s New World Dictionary, College Edition, defines “adore” as “to worship as Divine; to love greatly; idolize; honor highly.” Sounds about right as a characterization of my feelings for my precious Hannah, then and today.
But in her own way, and with a wisdom and love that knows no bounds for anyone, my Bride Lynda described it best a while ago when she and Hannah were looking again at the framed picture of the first time Lynda—“Mimi” to Hannah—held her precious granddaughter in her arms, just hours after she was born. “You took my breath away,” Lynda said smiling through tears looking at the precious face now standing before her.
And for Mimi and me, she still does, and always will. As does our younger granddaughter, Elise Katherine.
Oh how I wish that were the case for children and grandchildren everywhere. Oh how I wish that every child, everywhere, of any age, would have someone in their life who feels that child is a precious gift of God—a child who “takes their breath away.” Just one person, who would hold them in their arms and bless them every moment of their life. Oh how I wish that were so for grandchildren and children, and “actually”…also for adults, everywhere.
May I be so bold as to suggest—“Why not?”
Why not you and me doing that for one child at a time and one person at a time, each and every day?
Just something for us to think about, “actually” just something for us to do something about, today and every day for the rest of our lives.
The child you find “who takes your breath away” will never be the same, and neither will you.
Happy Birthday, our precious Hannah. Happy Birthday.
In His Name—Gran (Scott)
Copyright 2013. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.