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AFFIRMING AN INCLUSIVE PRIESTHOOD, ROOTED IN A REFORMED AND RENEWED CHURCH

Too Many Birthdays

Hank Mattimore 347776

Hank Mattimore

So I'm sitting here sipping a cup of Joe at the Warm Puppy Cafe in Santa Rosa. From the large picture windows in the cafe, I can watch kids learning to skate in the ice arena. One little guy in a blue sweatshirt (he looks about 6 or 7 years-old) catches my eye when he does a whallopolozza of a belly flop right in front of my window. "Ouch", I think. "That must have hurt." Nah! This little dude has true grit. He gets right up and starts skating again.

Intrigued I follow him across the rink and count seven falls, seven get-ups. Discouraged? Not that I could notice. He is LIVING the old proverb, "If at first you don't succeed... " You know the rest.We all know the saying but as we become "big" people, we find it harder to bounce back up. Right?

I was thinking about that little kid the other day as I made my way gingerly to the floor to play with my 7 month old granddaughter. I was smart enough to know ahead of time that I would not be "bouncing" back up. But good grief! I didn't think it would be THAT much of a challenge.

The words of my own dad in his later years came floating back to me. "Too many birthdays," was his all purpose description of the aging experience. Not a bad one line summary of life in the golden years, clean too and undefiled by four letter words.

But then again, those bonus birthdays have given me much more than aches and pains. My kids have transformed before my eyes into warm, generous human beings. I would never have known them that way as adults,as friends as well as children.

Then to put frosting on the cake they married well and gave me a first class son-in-law and a smart and loving daughter-in-law. Not to mention the fun and indescribable joy of four grandkids.

These additional years have meant much more to me than "too many birthdays". I am grateful for each year the good Lord has given me. The years have graced me with insights about life and love that I would never have had. Hey, if you live long enough, you have to learn SOMETHING.

So when the aches in my knees complain a bit as I pull the old bones off the floor to play with my granddaughter, don't take my grunting and groaning too seriously. This old grandpa is having the time of his life.

Hank Mattimore is an 82 year old grandpa who keeps active volunteering as a spiritual adviser at Juvenile Hall.

 

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