This has been quite the week for Monica and me. Last Thursday afternoon we drove to Valparaiso, IN (Actually, I should say our son Joel drove us there and back because I was seated in the rear seat the entirety of both drives). On Friday our other son Matthew and his wife Rachel flew to Hawaii to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary (Well, they actually flew on Saturday because their Friday flight was cancelled at the last minute). On Monday afternoon, on our way back from Valparaiso, we stopped to pick up our two granddaughters from Rachel’s parents and have been staying with them at Matt and Rachel’s house this week. This afternoon they will be returned back to the original set of grandparents for the completion of the week – and we will move back into our condo (finally!).
Our weekend in Valpo was a total connection with the generation below us. The primary focus of the trip was the wedding of a pair of “20 somethings”. And it certainly was – in many ways – a clear expression of them and the world they live in. Some of our greatest joy in being a part of it was simply observing all that was taking place … and thinking about both the blessings observed and the healthy ways for bridging over that generation gap. Under the spirit of “killing two birds with one stone” we stayed with our niece and her husband who live in Valpo (they both work for the university). All of our time away from wedding activities was spent with these two and our son, Joel … additional time for observing and thinking, experiencing and enjoying this generation gap from a different angle.
The week since then has been sort of a “leapfrog” event as we jump over the generation below us to the one under them. And, while a generation is generally considered to be 20-30 years, I am more in the neighborhood of being 65 years older than my grandchildren. Thus, while the generation gap we experience here is not like that of a senior interacting with teenagers, it certainly is evident that “the times, they are a-changing”. Electronics, toys, inventions, and what I will simply call modern conveniences keep changing.
Yet there are many things that have not changed (and I doubt ever will). Diapers still need to be changed (even though disposables have replaced cloth) until a child is potty trained. Meals are prepared and eaten (though they seem to be informal on a more frequent basis). Every generation needs its sleep (though there may be a few years somewhere in the middle where this is challenged).
And there are other things that have not changed either. Hawaii remains on Gigi’s bucket list – though this we hope will change someday (We have clearly missed our 10th anniversary, but our 50th is still in sight). We continue to love the generations after us (in spite of the gaps). And we are filled with high expectations and hope for the future (no matter what others may say).
In this final statement there is never a generation gap among those whose focus is upon the promises of our God who is faithful from generation to generation (without any gaps). “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! … For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to ALL GENERATIONS.” (Psalm 100.1, 5) “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout ALL GENERATIONS, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3.20-21) Please notice that the promises do not say “to every other generation” or “to some generations and not to others.” The promises are to ALL GENERATIONS – with no leapfrogging.
How many parents have you heard say, “I want my children to have it better than me”? Have you ever thought what the true “bottom line” of really having it better is? We hear the children of millionaires struggling with addictions and other problems when life is handed to them (Have you read “Beer Money” by Francis Stroh). We also know how difficult life often is for the children of celebrities. Could there possibly be something other than more money or fame, a better job or education, or a bigger home that makes up the “bottom line”?
What about something “better” that cannot be taken away and continues without end? Think about it, which would you rather see the generation that follows you have – more money or greater peace, increased fame or healthier relationships? Do you want to know what I think (well I am going to tell you whether you are interested or not)? The bottom line for our children having it better than us is for them to have a closer relationship with Jesus than we do (though it likely will not be shaped or expressed in the same way as ours – remember electronics, toys, inventions, and modern conveniences keep changing).
Here is a statement that leaves no generation gaps: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ … So, faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word of Christ.” (Romans 10.13-17)
So, I think you know what I am praying for … that there are no generation gaps among those with “beautiful feet.”