They say you are born toothless, hairless and with no working brain.
“They,” for once in “their” life, would seem to be right. “They” go on to say that you spend 80 or more years evolving into a similar state and then pass on. Difficult to argue with that truth.
Another truth is that some of us never do get past that initial third state and pass into whatever passes for our next “state of being,” never having had the benefit of even a facsimile of that working organ. I would hesitate to verify that statement, never having met more than a few thousand of that type in my entire lifetime.
The following are random thoughts comprised of equal measures of philosophy, biology and conventional wisdom. My only excuse is that last night I was listening to one of Rick Mercer’s classic “Rants” about the prime minister. As usual, it was outrageously funny, with more than a germ of truth.
And this morning, the Mystery of Flight 370. At the moment, that’s so hopelessly mixed up and convoluted that there’s no way of finding truth from it at all.
As a result of being influenced by these two unlikely items, you may have problems finding sense of any kind from this column. Understand I am doing my humble best here.
Truth is, I am inspired by a beautiful event in our lives. Our little granddaughter was christened and baptized in the church here in Springdale. She was born with no teeth, a fair amount of hair and a little brain that, like all newborns, could use some evolving. There are some older people in her extended family who fall into that same category.
Those of you with a passing acquaintance of my family might be forgiven for thinking that, like the movie of the same name, I am lost in time. That I’ve regressed some 20 years back to a time when grandchildren of both genders were coming fast and furious.
Truth is, this little granddaughter was born less than three months ago, but again it took us back to another time and other beginnings.
If Abraham and Sarah could have children in their advanced years, there is no reason we couldn’t have grandchildren in ours. Not our fault we weren’t born in biblical times.
Given our druthers, of course, we would still have chosen our time (minus Stephen Harper). God seems to have been awful hard on his chosen people back then. What he didn’t destroy by fire and brimstone, he drowned in a flood. But I digress.
Twenty years ago, the first grandchild was baptized by my father — he baptized five in between those two. Now that he’s passed on, this last one was “done” by a longtime family friend,
Rev. Marion Davis.
Let me digress a little more, as if you could stop me. You could stop reading, of course, and I forgive those of you who already have and are about to do so.
Fifty-one years ago I was sent to the Port Blandford Pastoral Charge as a student minister. Happily, at that age I knew everything there was to know about being a minister of any kind. I gave it up before I started to go downhill.
Anyway, I convinced the people there that they needed a manse for their ministers so that instead of fly-by-nighters like me who were there for only a year and gone again, they could have experienced people come and stay for several years. They agreed and we built the manse.
The man who moved in after me was one Rev. George Demmons, who demonstrated the wisdom of their young student minister by staying no fewer than 33 years, and was well-liked for all that time.
What does that have to do with the baptism of Alice Maisie? When Daughter Number 3 was leafing through our hymnbook looking for a suitable baptismal hymn, she chose the one that appealed to her most, quite unaware that it was written by that same George Demmons who was a friend of mine and a very special friend of my parents. Thought that might be of passing interest to those of you who are still reading.
At each baptism we said to ourselves, and to our children when they were parents, that infancy would be the least worrisome time their children would ever be.
“Right now you have them in your arms,” we said. “You know where they are and what they’re doing. Wait till they get to be teenagers!”
But I realized in a hurry that this is true only in a limited sense. Alice is the 11th little child of ours I’ve looked at during baptism and christening and wondered what would happen to them over the years of their lives. You can make yourself sick simply by listing in your imagination all the slings and arrows that outrageous fortune has in her arsenal to hurl at we who are her favourite targets. Some we can avoid by being smart about ourselves and our world. Others reach their target, or not, simply by the luck of the draw.
Whatever, you look at that tiny little person carrying all your hopes and dreams for their future and realize that you are, to a large degree, helpless from that moment on.
We forgot that our parents felt the same way about us. We certainly didn’t feel the same way about them, although they were as vulnerable, if not more so, to life as we were.
My own parents were a lot older than I am now before I started wondering each time I left them if they would be there when I returned. But our parents are the mountains in our lives and no one expects the mountains to be moved — until they are.
So round and round it goes, the great circle of life.
Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.