“Sorry, dear Granddaughter. But sometimes, life just isn’t fair.”
If only I’d been this gracious and wise when my luck turned (and hers soured) the other day.
It sure looked like things weren’t going my way as our game of “Sorry” proceeded. And not only because fortune failed to smile on me: As is often the case when we play board games, I got the distinct feeling that the gals were ganging up on Dear ol’ Gramps.
Fer instance: If there was ever a question about whose token was headed back to the starting gate, somehow it always wound up being one of my four poor, picked-on little yellow guys.
Ah, but it’s a long worm that doesn’t turn.
Then wouldn’t you know it? In the blink of an eye, the cards started to smile on Gramps. The deck, it seemed, was no longer stacked against me. And despite their unholy alliance, my opponents found themselves powerless to stop Team Yellow and the juggernaut it had become.
So unexpected was this turn of events that Gramps just might have let out a “winning whoop” or two at the end. And maybe he even busted a move, a victory dance of sorts, around the kitchen island. All of which, as mentioned, certainly lacked the level of civility and decorum one might expect of someone firmly ensconced in the Silver Set.
Fortunately, Granddaughter didn’t hold this indelicate display against me. Mere moments later, in fact, we were off to Mini-Golf…where scores were kept only very loosely…and a good time was definitely had by all.
I’ve learned that when you travel in grandparenting circles, these sorts of situations tend to come as a matter of course. Having spent decades setting up guardrails…and enforcing rules…all with the loving intent of raising your own kids right, and putting them on a straight-and-narrow path – all of a sudden, when you start hanging out with their kids, you’re delighted to discover that a whole new set of rules apply.
God often gives grandparents the chance to “color outside the lines” with the Young’uns. Yes, we may celebrate outrageously on those rare occasions when we win. But we also mete out mercy by the truckload…to ensure that they come out on top, much more often than not.
When I think about it, this is not unlike the curious figures we encounter in this Sunday’s gospel – the feisty widow and the unrighteous judge. Neither seems to be a role model in the traditional sense of the term. Yet Jesus appears to laud their efforts:
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.”
And then, just as curiously, Jesus seems to equate their odd behavior with “trust in God.” He asks,
“But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
What exactly are we to make of Christ’s wry observation?
Perhaps simply this: Maybe we should work up the courage to be feisty, too, from time to time – especially when life’s deck seems stacked against us. Maybe we oughta learn to seek (and have faith in) the comfort of a “grandparenting” God – a Holy One who offers mercy beyond measure, the loving God who’s ever willing “color outside the lines” on our behalf.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.