Four grandsons. In age they are very close. In reality they are far apart.
12 weeks old? Feeding, winding, sleeping, smiling, rocking, repeat.
3 years old? Playing, running, chasing, cuddling, giggling, snacking, sleeping, repeat.
4 years old? Tablet, wii, tablet, wii, snacking, talking, tablet, wii, not sleeping.
6 years old? Music, dancing, cuddling, walking, eating, music, games, eating, sleeping.
We have all four today and overnight. Between them all is six whole years – and at this age it sounds a lot. Yet there are eight whole years between Nana and me.
So if this was about the two of us it would be two whole more years before “Nana” was even born – and I would be another two years away from where our oldest grandchild already is. And in the context of where these four young boys are now – and where this lovely lady and I are right now – that always seems most weird to me.
We have two young mums as daughters – less than five years apart as daughters, but three children apart as mums. And as grandparents we are now four times more experienced than we were the first time (which is why we already have long siestas planned the moment all four boys return home tomorrow).
Our lives have changed massively. And change will continue each and every year. Have our beliefs changed? Of course they have!
We never knew then what we know now. We were not then who we are now. It is inconceivable that our beliefs would remain static with all this living going on, with all these relationships changing and growing-up happening, with our bodies ageing and our minds expanding.
How would our beliefs remains the same – and just when is it okay to stop changing my beliefs … ? At 3 years old … 10 years old … 18 years … 21 … 30 … ? What “number” makes it okay to stop changing and remain the same in belief evermore?
And why is a number even relevant?
So why do we take up arms and cudgel each other for our faith (or non-faith) beliefs today? Because my “faith” AND “non faith” beliefs have never stopped changing. Which means that what you think today I was thinking at some point – or have yet to think in the future. How can any of us “be right” when ALL of us change our lives, our thoughts and our beliefs over the years?
Which is why I have come to know there is one thing that remains always: love.
I can look back and say with complete honesty that love is the one thing I have come to know better over the years. That love is the one thing I will continue to know better and better in years to come. And love does “change me”. The rest … ?
I have changed my mind on almost everything and anything else – God and no-God, right and not-right, truth and not-truth, giving and not-giving, eco-friendly and eco-selfish, resource savvy and resource wasteful, who is old and who is young, who is clever and who is not, who is a friend and who was and who may be.
Work? Different jobs, different places, different salaries, different needs. Food? Same with that – so many changes from mother’s milk to a good steak to vegetarian to vegan and all variants thereof. Exercise? Same again – never called it exercise – it was just messing about and having fun “out” – now it is gyms and personal trainers and fitness regimes and fitbits!
Clothes … ? Homes … ? Cars … ? All of it changing and to change again. Yet love … ?
Of all these the greatest IS love.
The bible IS worth reading and there IS good stuff in it. And if you don’t think so that IS okay. And if you want to focus on the “bad stuff” because you had a “bad experience with God” that IS okay. And if you want never again to revisit love in the bible that IS your choice. But speaking as one who has been and done all of that and more …
I will never defend the bible from you, I will never attack the bible with you, and I have no need ever to agree with you because you are right (when “right” is just another changing opinion for us both).
If you need to be right above all else, I don’t “need” to be chained to your intellectual barnacle encrusted vessel of “right” anchored in one place evermore.
I have learned there is so much more ocean to explore than either of us can ever know.