Before his death, the old man went on a nostalgic road trip to Memphis with his thirty-something son to show him where he had grown up before it was too late. They drove with the windows down and talked of days gone by. The trip was risky as the father had only weeks, maybe days to live.
Knocking on the door of his father’s childhood home, the son greets the owners: “My father grew up in this house, and we’re wondering if we could take a quick look around.”
The somewhat surprised homeowner nods a nervous yes, and the father walks straight to the fireplace and removes one of the old bricks.
As though discovering a long forgotten time capsule, the old man finds a few small items hidden behind the brick that he’d placed there decades before. He says to his son, “My treasure—a few toys and three quarters! I put them here once, and after all these years later, they’re still here. Isn’t that something! Isn’t it strange how the world sticks and moves like that?”
While watching that scene from my favorite television show This Is Us, I couldn’t help but be wistful for such a road trip with my own father, now housebound and no longer able to travel.
Many of us Baby Boomers are facing that “sticks and moves” time of life. It’s harder than we thought it would be, yet more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.
My husband, Rick, and I are in that season of life where our fathers are nearing the end of their earthly lives—both more nostalgic about days gone by—while our first grandson, Liam, is just beginning his days.
While his great-grandfathers are negotiating walkers or wheelchairs for the first time, Liam will soon pull up to a standing position in his crib for the first time. While I wonder how much longer I’ll hear my father’s voice . . . first words will soon be spoken by my new grandson.
The groaning of the aging process in this life—mixed with the beginning of a new life—is how it should be. Both are beautiful and sacred journeys for the people we love the most.
The lyrical Psalm 139 comes to mind. I memorized those stunning words when I was pregnant with my first daughter, Christie, now Liam’s mama. And I love how those same words resonate just as beautifully with my father’s journey . . . even as he nears his 90th birthday.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.