I had a couple of funny things the boys had done recently that I thought would make good blog posts. Once I sat down to write them today, not one of them came to me. I know I say it every other post, but we are in a busy phase of life right now. Sometimes my brain feels like a messy tangle of noodles. Today, I just can’t sort it out. Lately, the big picture is on my mind, rather than the details.
This weekend, I had the chance to visit my grandmother—my beautiful, ninety-six-year-old grandmother. Time and again she reminded John and me how blessed we are to have children, how important it is that we have our boys. We are still young, but more and more I worry about our generation and our “prolonged adolescence.” How many of our contemporaries will be grandparents, never mind great-grandparents? How many of them are seriously considering that as they look for happiness in what they do? How many of us (myself included) are really looking for peace in who we are—in growing ourselves in love, in virtue, and most importantly, in the way we serve others? Or am I wrong, and enough of us are finding true joy without looking to grow our own families or otherwise give our time and love away?
On Sunday, I listened to a homily about how all we do in our faith lives must be done out love, not obligation. The reason Jesus’s new commandment—“Love one another as I have loved you”—was such a big deal was because before, living a faithful life meant following the rules. Now it meant freely choosing to think about others, to pray for others, to take care of others, and to give oneself to others. We are not to expect a fuzzy feeling for ourselves or others in return. In fact, we are not to expect anything in return. That’s what love is.
I hope that if I live to ninety-six, I will be as surrounded by family and friends as my grandma is. She doesn’t have any big professional accomplishments to show for herself, though those are not all bad. What she does have is people who spend time with her and care for her out of love, not obligation. She has stories to tell and a laugh that shows how young she still is inside. She has faith, she has hope, and she has a whole lot of love.