When I was just a scared little boy afraid to go up that dark unlit stairway to my bedroom each night, I had no concept of life beyond that moment or of the man, husband, father, and grandfather I would become. Many nights my dad would lie beside me and rub my back until the fears of the night faded into peaceful rest. All of that now seems a lifetime ago.
Last weekend, while in Virginia, I had the awesome privilege of taking my grandson up to bed. We sang together as best we could with tears running down my cheeks. He rolled to his side in his crib, looking at me with my finger firmly in his grip. He has a lifetime ahead of him. For a space in time I was doing for him what my father had done for me. Was it that long ago when I put his father to bed?
Tomorrow, my dad will be 91. He and my wife, Sue (Nana), shared the same birthday. Was it really that long ago, Dad? Sometimes it seems only a short time ago. If I could only crawl back into bed, as that little boy, for even a few minutes… The fears and hurts I had then, pale in comparison to life now.
If I were putting my grandson to bed tonight, I would tell him that life is fearful and fearfully wonderFULL. I would tell him about the Nana he will never remember and how much she loved him. I would tell him of his great grandfather (my dad) that he has never met. I would tell him of his great grandmother (my mother) who died shortly after Nana. He would look at me, and smile, not understanding all that I was saying and perhaps wonder why Pop’s has tears in his eyes again.
When I grow up, I will understand why life was short and filled with pain that at times made the wonderFULL fade into distant memory. Then the fears of the night will be silenced. When I grow up my Heavenly Father will have welcomed me home. Then, and only then, will I understand it all. Until then, I have work to do. I will have succeeded if my kids and grand kids see glimpses of The Father’s love in their father and grandfather.
Elder Source Senior Ministries
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