My mom, an English major in College, and now a high school librarian, always speaks of the literary device of the cycle of life and death. In a story when one person died, there would inevitably be a birth of a new life. Or, when there was a birth, there would soon be a death. Growing up, I never understood what she was referring to, and this past week, I lived in this tension, in this cycle.
My Grandma, my dad's mom, passed away this week. It was expected, but it still hurts. It's hard because she is my last grandparent. It's hard because she has not been well for awhile, and when she was well, I did not have enough sense to appreciate that time. If only I could have frozen a moment or two when she was laughing when we were little, or she gave me a high five that was so awkward, and I could have taken a snapshot of that moment; but I didn't. And truly, this ink is not a spillage of guilt. I was so young, so naive and there was no way that I could truly appreciate and understand Grandma. Her wisdom. Her generation. The fact that now, in my life, that generation is gone, and the new one is rushing in is something that has, in one week, become a reality. The thought of being only second in line of my family name, instead of being third crosses my mind and I realize that instead of being last, I am now approaching the middle. It's puts a fragile cloud over my parent's life and my friend's parent's life. And mine. I am no longer a grandchild, but just a child, and my other friends, who once made the transition from grandchild to child are now...parents.
Two days after my Grandma passed, after a generation in my life came to an end, a new one began. My dear friends Megan and Randy had their precious twin babies. They are so beautiful and the beginning of this stage of life is something that now being married, I am beginning to grasp a better understanding for. I feel like I am in a race for wisdom, that I am so aware of what I have been missing by only living like I would forever be just a grandchild, and now, as a new awareness of being a child, I have much to learn before I become a parent. And so it's here, in the middle of that tension, of third to second, last to middle, that I find myself.
I am mixed with sorrow grief, joy and happiness and I can not help but begin to think of the generations that have come and those that will come next. We are fragile people. We are made out of dust.
Our history is precious and the patriarchs and matriarchs of our faith declared, as they saw God move "This is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." Because, we know of where we came from, where we are headed, and who we are living for because of those who paved the way before us. We recognize the movement from generation to generation, yes as a literary device used in our favorite stories, but as an act of love, redemption, and culmination by our God, who knows each generation by name. And so, we too, will declare in the cycles of life and death, that "this is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob", because their lives are a thumbprint on ours.
I just turned 25 and I live in Orange County, California with my husband. We love God, love life, and love trying new adventures together. In June I will have completed my Masters in Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. I hope to some day teach like my parents, and write a book about how all of this somehow relates together. It always does.