Posts Tagged ‘Luke Skywalker’

The Sword and the Diaper

June 24, 2014

“Wah-SHAWWWW!” He cries, waving the plastic sword at me menacingly, a gleam in his eyes and his sagging diaper threatening to fall at any minute. He attacks with full, fierce force. I jump back, the blade barely missing slicing me in half.

Having driven me off, he slides the sword into its invisible scabbard, the tight space between his diaper and his hips. His belly bulges forward as he struggles to find the narrow opening, but he’s gotten efficient at it in the past 3 days. He narrowly escapes slicing the tab in two (much more difficult with plastic, but still doable!), and turns his focus on adjusting his knight’s helmet.

“LUKE, I AM NOT YOUR FAHD-DUH!”  I intone in my deepest Darth Vader voice. Ignoring me, he races off to run the gauntlet around the kitchen island. But before he gets there, he turns to face me, wiggles his hips back and forth, and sings out his challenge: “You can’t get me, nanny-nanny-yellow!” Waiting for me to respond, he tries to evaluate whether I’ll come at once or whether he’ll have to dare me again. I stalk toward him like the monster he envisions, and he waits till the absolute last second, then turns to flee as I snatch him off the floor and start devouring his back, snorting and snuffling, all the time him squealing with glee.

Later, I’ll be Big Bear, threatening to eat up Little Bear, or protecting him by covering him and warding off wolves and mountain lions, or smearing him with magic water to make him invisible, leaving only a sword and a diaper hanging in thin air.

The joys of a 3-year-old and grandparenting! Such is life with my grandson, every day a new adventure—except when it’s not. When there’s a continuing fever and coughing and hacking. When there’s nothing obvious but he’s so cranky he’s unbearable. Still, I wouldn’t trade it.

I get to see the world through his eyes, and I realize I must have seen it before over a half-century ago. How did I lose it? How did I forget? It’s like being a child all over again!

And I get to be a father all over again too. The things I missed out on with my own kids, the times I was too busy or distracted, or just plain too wrapped up in myself—I get to do an extreme makeover, a do-over.

Not to forget grandfathering with fresh eyes. I have a granddaughter who’s about to turn 19, so I’ve been here before. How did I miss so much then? I can remember holding her in the hospital, newly born and so small and fragile, and understanding why grandparents were crazy and acted so loony over their grandkids.

But somehow in the long journey from these foreign lands to here, I’d forgotten these things. Life got too frantic, pressed in too hard, demanded too much. And I gave it willingly, unknowingly, cluelessly unaware that I was losing my soul.

Maybe I never had it to begin with. Maybe it was taken captive by some monster when I was a child, and here’s my chance to reclaim the treasure.

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The Value of Just Holding On

April 6, 2012

Sometimes it’s all you can do just to hold on. And that’s OK. That’s enough. That’s what it takes.

Of course, it goes without saying, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” So there is also a time for just letting go.

Getting them right is what matters.

History is replete with names of those we remember just because they knew to just keep holding on: Christopher Columbus, Helen Keller, the Wright brothers, Thomas Edison, “Unconditional Surrender” Grant, Mother Teresa, and many others. We remember the names of famous battles for just holding on, even to the point of death: Thermopylae, Masada, the Alamo, Gettysburg, Normandy—the list goes on. Scripture has its own “Hall of Fame”—Hebrews chapter 11 lists many who just held on: Noah, holding on for 120 years building, and then another full year afloat; Moses, holding on to the possibility of creating a free people out of slaves (even holding out against the Lord, who more than once told Moses to move over and let him kill them all and start over with Moses!), Jacob wrestling with the angel and holding on till he limped. Our favorite heroes in books and movies are often those who held on against extreme odds: Frodo, Luke Skywalker, Rocky Balboa, Neo, Jake (in Avatar), and more. We admire survivors and survival stories, and tell them to ourselves and our children, and even make up reality shows based on seeing who can hold on the longest!

Why do we hold on? What do we hang on to? What makes us hold on? What is it that makes us value tenacity, total loyalty, unflinching bravery? There’s something unquenchable in the human spirit. Maybe it’s related to the will to live. Maybe it’s more.

Sometimes we hold onto HOPE. Sometimes it is knowing that what we’re holding onto is somehow “RIGHT”—right and good and just and wholesome and fair and desirable. Sometimes it is the encouragement of someone whose insight we respect, telling us that we CAN do it, that it IS worthwhile, that the end IS IN SIGHT. Sometimes it’s because, as the song says, “I still haven’t found what I’m lookin’ for.”

Sometimes it is because we have seen others not hold on, and we know how devastating that can be. I had a professor in college who used to say, with a twinkle in his eye, “Don’t commit suicide today—you can always do it tomorrow.” And I did find it humorous, but it helped me because I had seen personally how my own father’s NOT holding on impacted my life—he committed suicide when I was only 3 and my sister 2. But maybe, in his own way, even he held on—he had 3 other bullets under his pillow, but at 6:45 am, told my mom to get up and fix breakfast. Somehow he found some measure of hope and allowed us to live. Even in the ultimate giving up, he held on. At least I have to hold onto that belief.

And if I’m wrong? There are a lot of places where being wrong IS clearly wrong. But here, I don’t think it is. Holding onto that kind of faith and hope has enabled me to live more than twice as long as he did, and to see my grandchildren, one of them almost grown. Even holding onto the failures of those who have preceded us—or even our own failures—can be a good thing, if it points us toward holding on in the right way.

Just hold on. Someone needs you to.