NORTH SPRINGFIELD, Vt. -- My first grandchild, Olivia, was born 11 years ago today in suburban Kansas City. I had asked my daughter not to give birth until I returned from a post-9/11 trip to the Middle East to write about Islam, but apparently Olivia didn't get the message.
Eleven years later Olivia is a fabulous grade-school student, an excellent dancer, a trumpet player and a singer whose voice is simply astonishing.
Although I was able to attend her dance recital this past Saturday evening, I missed her year-end concert at school at which she sang. My wife managed to capture Olivia on video to let me hear her and I could hardly believe a child could sing so angelically.
What does any of this have to do with faith, religion or ethics? Well, I've been thinking about the wisdom of Psalm 90, which tells us, in the old King James Version, that "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away."
I'm past threescore and working on the next 10, and in the way the world works one of my tasks is to be grandfather and to encourage Olivia and my other grandchildren to love life, do their best and be grateful for their many opportunities to live life abundantly and joyfully.
So high-fives to grandchildren today, and especially to Olivia. And, sweetheart, I'm sorry I'm on the road again for your birthday, but you knew when you entered the world that you had a grandpa who tends to wander God's big world.
(The photo here today shows Olivia and me doing our Halloween scary faces several years ago.)
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While I'm on the road for awhile the chances are that I won't be posting a second item here each day as I usually do.