After this, we watched an episode or two of Jonny Quest before capping off the evening by taking in King Kong duking it out with Godzilla, all while munching on buttered popcorn! We burned a last bit of energy before bedtime by wearing about ten percent of the tread depth off of a complete set of Hot Wheels car tires! All in all, it was a red letter night for three little boys!
This was followed by a Sunday afternoon spent playing with the next two grandsons. Perched atop the couch, we played with toy fishing rods, catching world record plastic fish down below on the carpet. We then repeatedly slam dunked our basketball in the playroom, before a round or two of hide-and-seek. After this, we chowed down on tacos and nachos and cookies! What a day!
Then came this evening, when my wife and I kept the last two grandsons while their mom and dad went out for a Valentine’s Day dinner. We wrestled and played tag, flew toy airplanes, and took our binoculars to search for “lions and tigers and bears” out in the back yard. Thereafter, we had supper, got cleaned up, and put on jammies before settling down to a good old fashioned Disney movie before bedtime. What an evening!
My wife and I can only hope such memories will be kept and cherished by our grandsons all throughout their lives. They certainly will by the two of us.
But I will keep an additional memory of this past weekend as well – that of two simple phrases. Have you ever gotten the lyrics of a given song stuck in your head, unable to get rid of them? Well, I have had a similar experience over the past few days. Only what I keep hearing over and over and over are the words to two simple phrases - so much alike, yet so different: “What’s this Granddaddy?” and “Watch this Granddaddy!”
The first of these, “What’s this, Granddaddy?” must have been asked of me a bazillion times over the last three days. Now, I will admit that I did not mind answering this question at first. After all, it’s great to be viewed as the grand old sage who imparts knowledge and purveys wisdom. But to be completely honest, it did get a little old after the first half-a-bazillion times.
The second, similar phrase, “Watch this, Granddaddy!”, was uttered close to gazillion times. It was not a question or even a request. If anything, it bordered more on a command! At every turn, as their confidence grew and they dared to take on new challenges, they seemed determined that my wife and I should take note. So much so that the command would continue to be repeated until we acknowledged whatever particular feat was then at hand!
Now, back home and sitting here at my desk and reflecting, I can see just how much of the human experience their chosen phrases reflect. Have we not all grown up with an inquisitive mind? Sure we have. Way back in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve busied themselves, first with discovering and then with ordering their world. The fact that He allowed them to name the animals is proof that God set things up for us to learn and process and organize the world around us. We have continued to do so ever since.
After discovering and organizing our world, the next human propensity is to interact with it. Once we learn, we want to learn all the more. In the process, we are emboldened to attempt things. And once we have attempted things and succeeded, we want to attempt even greater things.
Such has been the pattern of human history ever since Adam and Eve left off merely naming things and began actually tending the garden around them, dressing and keeping it in a productive and fruitful manner.
Spending the weekend watching seven little innocent lives explore their world and their abilities within it has brought my wife and me a lot of pleasure. I cannot help but be reminded that, back before sin ever entered the picture in Genesis chapter three and ruined so much of Adam and Eve’s lives and world, another resounding phrase was heard when God Himself repeatedly observed that everything He saw was good!
The Apostle Paul’s concluding remarks to the Christians at Philippi in the fourth chapter of his New Testament Letter to them are perhaps best remembered by his statement in verse 13 when he says: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” But this verse is actually part of a larger context in which he focuses on several great themes. Among these are the needs for them to keep on thinking and learning and accomplishing in their lives. As Paul puts it…
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think on these things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
There you have it - learning and doing. If a life is to be lived to the glory of God, then together, these two inextricably linked human endeavors are designed to be undertaken over and over again.
And as a child of God myself, even with a life marred by sin, I pray that my Heavenly Father finds much pleasure in my desire to know more and more of life in this world that he has made, especially as I turn to Him in an attempt to find meaning and purpose in it. I pray also that He finds delight in my willingness to engage that world by putting my own God-given talents and skills to work within it as a means to accomplish great things, both for Him and for others.
My own imperfections notwithstanding, may my personal explorations of, and exploits within, this world that God has made be pleasing enough to Him so as to evoke many an affirmative phrase from on high! And may the same be said of you as well.