I saw something beautiful last night. I didn’t sleep well, and I woke up early because of it. I am feeling a compulsive urge to capture what I saw in words. The sun won’t be up for a while, but I need to write this now.
Is this how real artists feel? I always told people I was an artist; they should stop treating me like a normal person. Artists shouldn’t be expected to do the dishes and go to work is what I have been saying. Do you think Picasso had to get his own coffee? It’s hard when you’re the only one who really “gets it”.
Last night we celebrated my Aunt and Uncle’s 55th wedding anniversary. A lot of years ago, my Dad’s sister, Peggy, went to a movie with a tall skinny guy she met, named Stan. These two kids hit it off. They got married: 3 daughters, 7 grandkids and 55 years later, seemed like a good time to celebrate,
My cousins hosted this celebration for their parents in one of my cousin’s backyards last night. This party was a Pinterest explosion. My cousins are like that. If these ladies lived in a cardboard box, the cardboard box would have walls covered in a faux finish; there would cozy lighting and shabby chic pillows cast artfully about so that you’d be jealous of their cardboard box. You’d wish you could live in a cardboard box too, instead of a dumb ol’ house.
That’s just my cousins; they can’t help it. They’re not trying to make you feel badly about how every time you attempt style in your house, it looks like you hired a 9-year- old decorator. Trust me. These women aren’t doing this on purpose. At least, that’s what my therapist told me to think about that.
But, we can dig into your insecurities later. Right now, I want to capture this beautiful thing I was telling you about.
First, I have to go backwards. My Aunt and Uncle live 2 hours away. We had 2 hours for Scott (and Zeke) to hear all the important stuff my brain has been storing. My family must love our car rides.
I was telling Scott and Zeke about some folks I’ve been reading about in the press lately. These folks are semi famous for one reason or another. These folks have always claimed to be hard core Christians. I mean, from what they’ve told us, this being a Christian thing is their main message in life, and the main thing we should learn about from them. They’ve spoken about their Christianness with authority.
Recently, it has come to light, that while these famous Christian people are using fame to convince us of their upstanding Christianness, they are simultaneously orchestrating a heinous private life. I don’t know why I’m surprised by this stuff anymore. It’s not a new thing. I can’t help it though. I always take it hard.
It isn’t the heinous private life that troubles me. I’m not in charge of other people. We are all responsible for our own choices, and the resulting consequences. What makes it hard for me to recover is the big, fancy, public display of Christian faith.
Do you want to know what super unchristian thought I have when I hear these stories? I’m going to tell you, because I need Jesus, and here’s how I know it. When I hear these stories, I think about these people, and I want to say, “Just SHUT UP! Please. Stop talking. Just stop. Not another word.”
This is what I was telling Scott and Zeke on the way up to my Aunt and Uncle’s anniversary celebration. I told my family that I was starting to come to the conclusion that people should just quit talking about their faith completely. Maybe talking about Jesus is the easiest thing in the world to do. Because, literally, anybody can do it.
I said that I felt like in a world with everyone yammering on (guilty) about how you should live, and what you should believe, there’s nothing new to hear. I told my family that in a world like this, my actions are my testimony. My life is my testimony. I feel disillusioned by all the speeches.
That’s where my mind was at when we parked in front of my cousin’s house.
After we ate dinner, my cousins had a short little program lined up. My Aunt and Uncle played, “The Newlywed Game”. That was fun to watch. Then, my cousins told the crowd what their parents’ happy marriage meant to them in their lives. Everything.
My cousins then asked the five grandkids if they would like to share a few words about their Grandparents. You could tell this was a surprise request.
And, this is the beautiful thing I saw.
All five of these grandkids are young adults: married for a short time, getting married, or going to college. That sums up where these kids are at in life. One by one, while holding back tears, these kids told all of us sitting there how much their Grandparents meant to them.
Each grandchild told their Grandparents that they appreciated all their physical support. The grand kids said thank you for all the meals they ate with Grandma and Grandpa, for the golf games with Grandpa, and for the luxury of knowing Grandma and Grandpa would be there to support them with whatever they chose to do.
The other thing that every single one of these grandkids thanked Grandma and Grandpa for was their faith in Jesus Christ. These kids explained that Grandma and Grandpa helped them understand that no matter how difficult life became, their faith could carry them.
That’s it. That’s the beautiful thing I saw.
I saw two young kids who committed themselves to God and to each other 55 years ago. I saw an imperfect couple who spoke to God privately, daily, asking God for help, asking God to show them how to raise a family, because they couldn’t do it on their own. I saw a couple who endured heartache, trauma and their share of disappointment over a lifetime. I saw a couple who’s faith allowed their hearts to resist bitterness, and to remain content.
I saw a couple who didn’t give grand public speeches about how people should live. I saw a couple who, in the privacy of their own home, fell on their knees before God; Praying to a God they believe is intimately invested and concerned with the well being of their family and the world.
I saw a couple who woke up early, without witnesses, and read God’s Word; believing God’s promises were meant for them.
I saw a couple who practiced generosity and kindness every day. A couple who said they were sorry, who asked for forgiveness.
I saw a couple who’s Grandkids have been watching and listening to their Grandparents. Those Grandkids received an inheritance from their Grandparents worth more than any amount of money on Earth.
Grandma and Grandpa are towards the end of their lives now. There will come a day when Grandma and Grandpa will not be physically available to offer comfort and support to the people they love. But, Grandma and Grandpa’s hearts can be at peace. Their private lives have been a testimony with impact. Their grandkids were watching, learning and receiving instruction. Their grandkids are now claiming their Grandparents’ faith as their own. These grandkids told their Grandparents, thank you. We will not be shaken.
To me, it’s beautiful. I can’t know if that’s the life I’m living, but that’s the life I desire. I can say just about anything to anyone. But, my family is watching what I do. I really, really, don’t want to mess that up.
My cousin, Jodi, told me last night that shortly after each Grandchild was born, Grandpa Stan would take the grandchild in his arms and go for a little walk. On their walk Grandpa would whisper his prayer to God, committing his new grandchild to the Lord, asking for God’s blessing to cover this new grandchild. Grandpa Stan would also ask God for the favor of building a true and genuine faith in the heart of this new little human. So that this precious, fragile life would feel security and peace despite what trials may come.
Grandpa Stan performed this meaningful, divine, life altering ritual privately. Grandpa Stan followed where God led his heart, for the sake of his and his Grandchild’s spiritual lives. Without an audience, and in front of no one.
It was beautiful.