“A chain is a series of connected links which are typically made of metal. A chain may consist of two or more links.”
A simple definition . . . a series of connected links. I think that we sometimes forget how “linked” of “connected” we human beings truly are to one another. I have been thinking about this lately with the birth of our first grandchild—a granddaughter—to our oldest child. In a world in which “political correctness” is pounded into us, our first granddaughter was not born into a politically correct scenario. Though the scenario was not politically corrected it is not one that is unfamiliar to any generation—the granddaughter was born out of wedlock. This is no big issue for the wife or I as there seem to be bigger issues to tackle and deal with than that. Our granddaughter is flesh and blood . . . a child of God . . . who has come partly out of our own blood . . . that is good enough for us. But this is not a blog about that, this is a blog about “chains” . . . which I have been thinking about lately.
A chain is a series of “connected links”. With the birth of our first grandchild the chain has been lengthen—not by one, but by many. This past weekend the wife and I had the opportunity to meet our granddaughter and her mother about six weeks after her birth. We also had the opportunity to see our son—the “prodigal”—after nearly a year. It was an adventure for us as we got to step into a world that is not quite like the one in which we exist—it wasn’t bad, it was just different. We had the opportunity to meet our son’s roommates and friends. We had the opportunity to experience our son in his space. With each person we were introduced to and got to be with that chain expanded. The world we thought we lived in was actually quite larger than we ever thought.
Central to that world was our granddaughter . . . what a beauty! Of course, I might be bias, but she is a cutie! Around this itty-bitty child is a circle of grace. That circle begins with her immediate family—her mother and father who love her very much. It expands out to include her three sisters who will be her adversaries and advocates through the journey of life. It includes her grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and who knows who else. This little girl has a lot of people who love her and pull for her each and every day. The chain only grows longer . . . and the wife and I are excited with each link that is added to the chain. As I said, it is an adventure!
And, the adventure was fun. It was a joy to be able to hold our granddaughter in my arms and to listen to her breathe. It was a joy to watch her squirm and wiggle in my arms . . . making all of those baby faces. It was a joy to hear the love in her mother’s voice as she described life with the granddaughter, but more importantly it was a joy to hear how much she loved her girls and what a responsibility it is to be the caretaker of four precious lives. It was a joy to watch our oldest son blubber in the presence of his daughter . . . to see the joy that bubbled forth from him as he held her in his arms. It was a joy to see the wife melt in the presence of this itty-bitty bundle of baby . . . the smile was priceless. And, it was a joy to see the youngest son hold his niece and never once flinch . . . it was love at first sight. It was good to be in the presence of the newest link to the chain.
This “chain” that I speak of is not a chain of metal . . . it is a chain made of something that the hands cannot touch . . . it is a “chain of grace”. It is a “chain of love”. It did not begin simply, it began and remains complicated, but through it all is grace and love. Those who never knew of each other are now connected and the journey of trust and love has begun. It is grace that will holds it all together. In the days, months, and years to come there is a lot of work to be done. Getting to know one another . . . getting to understand one another . . . trusting one another . . . believing in one another. It is not as simple as one believes . . . it takes grace. A big group of people—strangers—have been pooled together to raise a child. Holding it all together is grace . . . and love. It keeps the chain from falling apart.
Is it no wonder that I have been thinking about “chains”?
In the days, months, and years to come I pray for the grace and love that holds the chain together. I pray for each and every link—Mom and Dad, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and great-grandparents. I pray for friends and family that step in and link up. I pray for God’s traveling mercies in this journey. But most of all I pray for God’s grace and love to sustain the chain and that we—the links—embrace it. To say the least, I think I am a little smitten . . . not only with the “chain of grace” but with the links that make it whole. It is holy.