Calling All Grandparents! (And Great-Grandparents and Great-Great Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles!)

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By on April 1, 2022

“Can somebody get the baby? “He needs to get up!” (The call is music to my ears.)

“I will,” I shouted, as I ran for the stairs.

I slowed down to a tiptoe walk as I approached the bedroom door. All was quiet. Was the bonny prince still asleep, or just quiet in his crib?

I pushed open the door ever so carefully, and there he was—just looking up at the ceiling, looking at the wall, looking all around—definitely awake, happy, quiet, still.

 

Our eyes met and his face blossomed into a silent smile which caressed my heart, soul, mind, and body. Our mutual, steady gaze of unconditional, unquestioning love brought stillness to the inner world. How could there be such defenseless, pure love—here, before my very eyes? I can feel the sacramental, gentle power and exchange of graces in Samson’s gaze as I write these words. Will it be like this, before God, beyond this mortal life?

I have been thinking of that moment ever since and I am still grateful for someone calling out: “Can somebody get the baby?” I have also been thinking of grandparents and great grandparents and great-great-grandparents … and yes, aunts and uncles, too.

I have been thinking of the passion, power, and unbridled joy that grandchildren set aflame in the hearts of the older generation. Surely, the passion of grandparents has to be counted among the great forces that shape the day-to-day and long-term history of the world.

Today I read this in The Washington Post: “Humanity has a ‘brief and rapidly closing window’ to avoid a hotter, deadlier future … In the hotter and more hellish world humans are creating, parts of the planet could become unbearable in the not-so-distant future, a panel of the world’s foremost scientists have warned in an exhaustive report on the escalating toll of climate change … ‘I have seen many scientific reports in my time, but nothing like this,’ U.N. Secretary General Antony Guterres said in a statement.”

Our sweet little one lives in Cape Town, South Africa. On December 31, 2021, we read this: “After months of warnings through an anomalously long drought, Cape Town was on the verge of becoming the world’s first major city to run out of water.” Fortunately, the rains came and Cape Town was saved from the looming crisis.

The global ecological crisis becomes very real when it affects your family, which is why I am writing about grandchildren—your grandchildren. We are no longer in the “wake-up call” moment. We have known our world is in trouble for a very long time. The crisis is now.

Some of our most effective voices in climate change advocacy are the very young. Why not in the older generation too?

As a grandparent, you have seen, touched, and heard (1 John) the living, breathing proof of the divine origins of creation—in your grandchild, great-grandchild, and great-great grandchild. As a grandparent, or aunt, or uncle, the children you love reveal the holiness of all life on earth.

As a church full of grandparents, the Anglican Church has a power no one in the world could deny: self-transcending love for grandchildren! Let’s harness the passion of grandfolk!

I am urging you as a grandparent to let your love for your grandchild (or niece or nephew!) guide you, shape you, inform you, and inspire you. Let your passion spark the courage to become informed and act for the healing of our planet, for the sake of your grandchild.

One of our Lenten books this year is Saving Us. It’s a great place to begin the offering of your love, in gratitude for the love you have received. Our diocese has a tremendously capable environmental group. Just look around and you won’t have to look too far to find like-minded grandparents! Get together!

Did I just hear somebody say: “Can somebody get the baby?”

  • The Venerable Max Woolaver is rector of St. Andrew's, Grimsby. He is also an avid singer/songwriter as well as a retreat leader. Max was ordained in the Diocese of Niagara in 1986 and received his M.Div. from Wycliffe College, University of Toronto; he also studied at the Shalem Institute of Spiritual Formation.

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