Graceful Nostalgia

Thoughts From the Porch: This afternoon I’m celebrating my granddaughter’s 18th birthday I’m still not sure how I feel about that. On one hand, I’m so happy and proud for her. She’s become quite a young lady. On the other hand, I recognize one chapter closing and another one beginning. She’ll graduate high school this year and then off to college. No longer will she be the little girl that accompanied me around town in my old truck, closing her eyes tightly as I went up and over bridges on the interstate, and laughing when I reached solid ground again. No longer will she be telling me what “cows have for breakfast” (yes Baillie Duke, I put that in print…). Instead, she’ll head off to college and the joys that await her on the next steps on her journey…

So, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic this morning. I get that way occasionally. I’ll be sixty this year, something of a milestone. I may be getting older, as Baillie’s birthday reminds me, but much of my life has come around again. I get teased by my younger friends about my long hair (and no beard, as that would just be too hipster-ish). I laugh and shrug it off to my “second childhood”, although it’s not always a joke. My wife often talks about the impish kid that lives with her.

I often hear friends say things like “I wish I could go back in time knowing what I know now”. I have no desire to return to my teenage years; or even my twenties or thirties. I know that where I am today, is a direct result of those years and the choices I made. Sometimes I’m a little jealous of my granddaughter though. I remember when I was 18 and anything was possible. If I could pass on any words of wisdom to her, I’d tell her never to lose that faith. Even when cynicism and apathy try to snuff it out.

I understand why some people become old, cranky, and ultra-conservative. Change is difficult. I’m grateful that life has come full circle for me. Friends tag me a “liberal”, as if that’s a bad thing. I’m grateful that some of that youthful idealism has returned. Maybe it’s because of longing for youthfulness, but I prefer to think it’s because of my relationship with God. The one afforded me by recovery. The deep experience of grace changes folks. It changed me.

 The recognition of what has been so freely given to me generates a lot of optimism in a world that’s gone awry. I’m hopeful for Baillie’s, as well as all our kids and grandkids, future. I’m hopeful (and prayerful) that they come to experience grace without the hard lessons I, and others, have had to go through. Still, I know she, and they, have to walk their own paths. Hopefully they will converge at the point of grace that leads to transformation.

Happy Birthday Miss Baillie. Please know how loved you are: by Margaret and me, by your parents and siblings, and most of, by God. In creating the whole universe, He took time to create and love you. You’re so special to us, and to Him.

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