Thursday, January 2, 2014

Why grandpa's face is wrinkled.

He was just sitting in his easy chair, like most grandpas. Observing everyone milling around with Christmas excitement. About that time his youngest grandson, Junior, climbed up on his lap and with a young and quizzical 4 year old mind said "Grandpa, why is your face so wrinkled?" Grandpa just smiled for a second. "Young people sure are honest" he thought to himself. And then he began to ponder "My first wrinkle came 34 years ago when your grandma told me that your mom would be born in 9 months. After the initial panic, only a few more wrinkles lined my face as I worried about providing for, learning to nurture and shaping and leading our family so that my little girl would grow up the way she should. With her birth came more wrinkles. One for the first time she fell down the stairs, touched the hot stove and wrecked her bike. Another for just the thought of her growing into her junior high and high school years. A lot came around that time. Of course by then the boys had been born so they brought on wrinkles all there own. Then one day that little girl of mine packed up and went off to college. For an old guy who didn't use a phone much, I sure learned to call at least once a week. The first time she brought a boy home another wrinkle was engraved. She alleviated those worries though and my heart was at peace when I saw the respectful way she acted around him and the sincere way he treated her and all of us. And it was a tear that appeared on my face when I walked my little girl down the aisle and gave her to that same boy she'd brought home 3 years earlier. After that, there were other trials. The day we learned the love of my life had cancer and all of the rough months that followed. And then her passing. The feeling of loss and loneliness, I wasn't even sure where to go from there. That gave me more than a few of these wrinkles. And now as I sit watching this gathering of young people - all descendants of mine I guess - I worry about the heritage I passed down to them. I hope it was a good one. Positive and full of morals. I am nervous that they'll make the same mistakes that I have but I'll try to advise them against. I worry for their little kids being raised in a country that I feel like I don't even know anymore and I worry..." About that time the little boy spoke up, breaking the silence that the grandpa didn't even realize he'd allowed, and said "Grandpa, I think your face is so wrinkled because you smile so much! Maybe one day I'll have those same lines on my cheeks 'cuz I'll be a happy man just like you." and with that he climbed down and ran off to play. And so it was with the old grandpa. There'd been hurt and stress, worry and heartache. But there'd also been victory and proud moments, dignity earned and passed down to so many. And a good name, something he has always said was so easy to lose and so hard to regain. And there were wrinkles. They showed up from laughter and crying, bitterness and renewal. That was the day that that old grandpa finally realized where each of those wrinkles had come from, and he smiled with gratitude from the periods in life that each little line symbolized.

- Trinity Lewis

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