I began my morning walk with Jake and Jesse burdened with the troubles of our world; the famine in Africa, the injustice visited on children in wars, petty politics, corporate greed; all being paraded in rapid fire across the TV screen on the morning news.
The rustle of the wind through the tall pines, the sun sparkling on whitecaps on the lake, the mallard ducks floating serenely on gentle waves, the lush perfume of jasmine on the fence and gardenia by the garden gate – none penetrated my mood.
Jake and Jesse strained on their leads pulling me behind them down the path like an overloaded dogsled. I had no appetite for bringing them to heel, dimly aware that allowing them to pull on the lead meant more work for me in retraining. If not for their insistent pacing back and forth to the door when it was time for their walk, I would have bagged it altogether.
As we started up the hill, a golf cart came into view heading toward us, the driver braking when he saw us. I didn’t recognize them, but it was clearly a grandfather out with a morning ride with his two granddaughters; perhaps four or five years old. Of course, they wanted to “pet the puppies” and PawPaw was OK with it, so over they came, squatting down to eye level, tentative little fingers touching furry black ears and and quickly pulling back with giggles and shrieks of glee.
“Look, he LIKEs me, PawPaw,” the oldest said as Jesse licked her finger.
“Likes me too!” from the younger.
After five minutes or so of playful chatter and pleasantries, Grampa decided it was time to go home before Mom got worried.
“Well, you know what?” the oldest asked, swinging into the cart.
“What?” I answered.
“You can come visit me sometime. And bring the puppies!”
“I will!” I answered.
The grandfather turned the cart around and headed up the hill. My earlier foggy malaise slowly dissipated as I watched the happy little trio, the girls chatting away and pointing out various points of interest to their grandfather as only small children can, a squirrel, a bird perched on a high limb, a lizard, wildflowers, until they rounded the last curve and disappeared up the hill.
Yes. There IS that.
It is important to remember that in our troubled, broken, scary world, there are still grandfathers taking grandchildren for a ride on a beautiful spring morning. That is good.
And what I learned in Sunday School is as true today as it was then: “Hold Fast To What Is Good.” (1) Don’t ignore the pain, the trouble, but hold onto the good. With all your might. That is what will get us through.
(1) 1Thessalonians 5:21