Becoming a Grand Parent | #MyFridayStory №260
This week’s story takes a break from The Big Shakeout “series” for a brief interlude. There are 2 reasons for the temporary diversion.
First, I recently became a grandfather again. By God’s grace, my Son and Daughter-in-law are the proud Parents of a little girl to complete their pigeon pair — blessings upon blessings. When I first became a Grandfather, I was in awe of the significance of the opportunity. Today, I am sharing one of Richard Rohr’s recent Daily Meditations with the same title as today’s #MyFridayStory, the significance will be apparent.
Second, today #MyFridayStory’s 5th birthday. Every week is an exciting stream of events since I started writing the first story On Being an Artist in 2017. I have learned so much about myself along the way. Traits I never knew I could possess, demons I never addressed, and how much I love writing. I write to be read. Having anyone read even one story is an honour and a privilege I’ll never abuse and never want to lose.
Thank-you to anyone and everyone that has been around for any part of the last 5 years of weekly stories. I can never be humbled and grateful enough for you. Your support and encouragement, weekly likes and comments and just knowing there are folks that read and enjoy the weekly story is enough reason for me to enjoy doing it.
Thank you, I appreciate you.
Now, over to Richard…
Richard Rohr draws on the archetype of the wise ruler to describe what it means to be a “grand” parent, someone who has become a mature elder:
The final stage of the wisdom journey in mythology is symbolized by the ruling image of the king or queen or what I like to call the grand father or grand mother.
When we can let go of our own need for everything to be as we want it, and our own need to succeed, we can then encourage the independent journey and the success of others. The grand parent is able to relinquish centre stage and to stand on the side-lines, and thus be in solidarity with those who need their support. Children can feel secure in the presence of their grandparents because, while their parents are still rushing to find their way through life’s journey, grandpa and grandma have hopefully become spacious. They can contain problems, inconsistencies, inconveniences, and contradictions — after a lifetime of practicing and learning.
Grand parents can trust life because they have seen more of it than younger people have, and they can trust death because they are closer to it. Something has told them along the way that who they are now is never the final stage, and this one isn’t either. We need to be close enough to our own death to see it coming and to recognize that death and life are united in an eternal embrace, and one is not the end of the other. Death is what it is. I am a grand father when I am ready to let go. To the grand mother, death is no longer an enemy, but as Saint Francis called it, a “welcome sister.”
The soul of the grand parent is large enough to embrace the death of the ego and to affirm the life of God in itself and others, despite all imperfections. Its spaciousness accepts all the opposites in life — masculine and feminine, unity and difference, victory and defeat, us and them and so on — because it has accepted the opposition of death itself.
Grand parents know that their beliefs have less to do with unarguable conclusions than scary encounters with life and the living God. They have come to realize that spiritual growth is not so much learning as it is unlearning, a radical openness to the truth no matter what the consequences or where it leads. They understand that they do not so much grasp the truth as let go of their egos, which are usually nothing more than obstacles to the truth.
I cannot imagine a true grand father or grand mother who is not a contemplative in some form. And contemplatives are individuals who live in and return to the centre within themselves, and yet they know that they are not the Centre. They are only a part, but a gracious and grateful part at that.
Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄
As always, thanks for reading 🙏
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