We've just had our granddaughter here. She's just over two months, which means she is a cross between a super-hero and a witch. She has the power to make a fool of me and make me like it, and she has a magical charm that brings strangers from across the room to make fools of themselves with me.
I was struck, however, by the essential difference in how my son, the baby's father, and I see the situation. He is full of a healthy, holy dread. There is a tender seriousness in the way he picks her up. He solemnly informed me that he no longer drives over the speed limit. Overnight this little creature has dominated his time, altered his marriage, and commanded his future, yet he rises to it with an almost cosmic sense of urgency. I well remember the days when I felt that way about him.
But I feel quite differently now. I've been there, done that, and I'm ready for something new. Sure, I want to just look at her and marvel. Sure, I will do anything for that magical smile. And sure, my whole discretionary income is suddenly happily at her disposal (well, almost!) But that's not the heart of the matter. When one is a new parent one is aware of launching out into unknown territory. When one is a grandparent one sits back and watches one's own launching bear fruit. My joy is in a line come full circle.
Perhaps that is how God feels when we do something for the least of these.