We love our grandchildren.
Right now we are helping one of our daughters and son-in-law and their wee man. And because our day now begins so early I have suspended my involvement with Bar n Bus until further notice.
We are both falling asleep even before the time I would be driving the bus “forth” (let alone “back” three hours later). So no good works or team outreach for me at the moment.
Anyway … that not what this post is about.
It is about how we thought ALL “grandparents” lived this way. How our children and theirs come first – even before our own lives. Because, having been parents, we now know just how fast little ones grow-up. As parents we never knew – and even if we suspected – there was always so much else to do. Like “stuff” that allowed us to be “us” – not just swallowed-up as “parents” – stuff that was more than just “mum and dad” – stuff that allowed us to keep our own identity – to be “me”.
And now … ? I am me.
And “me” knows this time passes so fast … that “parents” need to be “me” … but parenting is a relentless 24/7 never-ending life (or so it seems). That making ends meet is tough. That getting the ironing done is tough. That the “keep things going” stuff still has to happen.
Or else you become a parent – and mum and dad – and lose yourself and each other.
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” ” Luke 10:38-42
I think it too simplistic to see Martha as “worry-wart” and Mary as “she gets it” (and so should we). I think it too “neat” that Jesus’s response is “Mary gets it – you should too.”
I have thought the same as our children rush around being parents-fighting-for-their-own identity. I know that our parents thought the same of us. Yet as a parent I rushed around keeping things tidy (and staying sane) because no one else would.
So I think we read the bible too much as a set of implied AND explicit instructions: “How to be good at life and love and eternity, by God.” Because we impose our own pass and fail standards based on the opinions of those we mix with. Those at church mostly. Or celeb Christians. Or saints. Or God.
I have become less convinced by all that. I have become less convinced that this “transcript” we quote – the very words of the Son of God – is ever that at all …
Memories are fickle. What makes sense to one is gibberish to another. What makes sense as a grandparent made little sense or me as a parent – and even less sense as a child.
I think the words we love to quote are no more than a buffet laid before us.
We choose how we fill our plates – or pass-by looking for tastier fare. We choose whether to come back and peruse the table again – or to stay seated and not partake at all. And the words to which we attribute such rigidity … “It’s in the bible and the bible says … “ is like looking at just one “don’t touch” buffet … and thinking it the only food in the entire world.
So too with love.
Love is not a “food group” to which some are allergic or eat too much or not enough. Love is not “But you need a balanced diet of rules and duty and sacrifice and obligation AND love “ to stay healthy. And love is NOT found only in the bible and church building and planned services of worship.
But hey .. it’s taken me decades to get even this far in my way of being “me”.
My beef is with those who teach the bible as “right and wrong”. Because that makes the bible ALL the stuff it isn’t …
And makes God all the stuff she probably isn’t either.