I scrolled through the computer files seeking photos for the Seniors’ Graduation Dinner. Each photo rekindled a memory. Lewis dressed as Woodie the Cowboy for Trunk or Treat, wearing a magi costume for the Christmas Pageant, sliding down the inflatable slide at VBS, or Lewis and Caleb hugging, grinning wildly, and covered in mud after racing bikes through muddy construction muck. My eyes clouded seeing seven-year old Lewis hugging his grandmother with loving abandon as they shared some now forgotten but surely hilarious birthday joke. Although a mini-van ride to Disney or flu season can slow down time- life happens pretty fast.
Most of us will keep on learning for work or pleasure the rest of our lives, but our core character is formed often before we graduate high school. Moses warns us to impress the ways of God into our children. Explain the Good News over breakfast, after Church, in the car, and as you tuck kids into the bed (Deuteronomy 6). The EUB baptismal rite admonished parents “to live a life before them that becomes the Gospel.” In the whirlwind of activities, hobbies, school work, sports, band, chorus and such, it is easy to treat ungraded Church as optional extra-curricular activities. We have a short season to implant virtue, character, awe, gratitude, love, moral courage, prayer, and care of our souls.
Saturday, I rushed from the ballfield, the car’s clock indicating that I had made Lewis late for his high school practice as they prepared for regional playoff action. Arriving home, I expected to see an upset teenager already in the driveway or ready to rush out the door. Lewis’ cleats, water bottle and practice pack sat by the back door. I found Lewis sitting on the floor beside my mom’s rocker, smiling and holding her hand. He stood, kissed his grandmother’s forehead and calmly headed off, perhaps late, to practice.
Lewis never complains as he picks Mom up from Trinity Care Center, holds the door, gets her plate, sits with her for a few hours, or drives her to church. She now can’t remember that she can’t remember his name. It is sad but okay. Long ago Mom lived the Gospel before Lewis, impressing his young soul with the deep unconditional love that flows only from God. Mom’s love that once enfolded Lewis now embraces her. In all the rush of parenting let us remember that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are the building blocks of a virtuous life. It is a short planting season.