What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. – 1 Corinthians 15:42-45
Other than the occasional, “Cheeeessseeee!!!” followed by running away before the shutter even thinks about clicking, kids – much like Labradoodles – will not pose for photographs. When other people are in charge I can attach my telephoto lens, move into stealth mode, and shoot at will; but when it’s just me I have to rely on the cellphone and dumb luck.
So far so lucky, I guess.
The funny thing about grandkids – well, not the funny thing so much of one of the many funny things – is how they simultaneously make me both younger and considerably aged. I pick them up and haul them around seemingly effortlessly, running around the park, playing on the floor, and carrying huge chunks of wiggly grandchild; and then I suddenly experience rapid aging, sink into a chair, and wonder if I’ll ever move again.
When I entered my fifties I was all: “I’m the youngest fifty-year-old you’ll ever meet!” And then, “I’m the youngest fifty-six-year old in the history of the world!” And even, “You’re never ever going to run into a fifty-seven-year-old who can climb a mountain like me…!”
Now I’m like, “Fifty-nine hurts, man.” And, “Is it time for my next dose of Aleve?”
I think what’s happening is that the passion, and the love, and the ebullience of the children taps into that place inside me where the spiritual self and the physical self are still the same age. And I respond as if my body can still support the exuberance. For a while I can pull it off, and then reality sets in.
But – at the same time – “The Grandchild Effect” proves an important point about who we are as fully-alive beings. This body, this physical frame, is only a small element of what it means to be completely alive. As we age physically, then we must invest more and more of our understanding of self, and our commitment to growth, into the fact of our more complete, eternal, spiritual nature.
I’m likely not going to be needing this high-mileage physical body more than around 90 years or so. But the part of me that is fully alive because of Christ, the understanding of being that gratefully experiences the truth of God’s love, is going to be around for eternity. My grand-kids may well be wearing out my less than immortal body, but their testimony to the potential fullness of the life abundant is effectively calling me out; challenging me to my nurture my spirit, renewing my promise, reminding me of the power of love, and fine-tuning my sensitivity to the life that really us life (1 Timothy 6:19).
In love, and because of love – DEREK
(a few action photos to illustrate my point!):