Wednesday, October 18, 2006

All Ages

I like going places where people of all ages are hanging out doing life together.
I love it when little tiny kids are scrambling around on the ground playing with something super fascinating like a puppy, or maybe just a worm, and really old folks are there, too, leaning against canes and doing their own version of playing. The mamas and the papas move around it all being parents and children at the same time.

You don't generally see this in America, so I mostly have to leave the country to really get a good dose of intergenerational life.

One of the things I love best about church life is the span of ages doing life together. Today I got to visit a brand new baby -- and he was a really good, really cute baby who let me hold him without getting all hysterical, and also he had that baby smell that immediately lowers your blood pressure -- and it was a great balance to all the visiting of the sick and elderly I've been doing lately. What that baby doesn't know yet is that when he's 85 and in the hospital recovering from hip replacement, he's going to feel just like he did at the age of 18 or so inside, but his body's going to be telling him a whole different story.

What the 85 year old doesn't know yet is that when he was a brand new person like that baby, he wasn't at all worried about where he came from before he was born, so he really shouldn't worry about where he's going when he's done being alive.

I think one of the best things you can do for your heart is to watch very old people hold new babies. They totally get each other. And they know that one of the secrets of human life is that we are radically dependent on each other. The people in the middle mostly don't have any idea.


Blogger Caroline Divine said...


This is why, like you, I love congregations. (Crazy as they are.)

Just got two-day-old baby pictures from friends of mine in another part of the state who just had their first baby. A home birth and all went well! After a spate of difficult births among various friends (though everyone is alive and well after late and early deliveries, umbilical cords around necks, C-sections, et al.) this felt miraculous. And she's beautiful!

Speaking of beautiful, thanks again for this reflection. And you're right about elders and babies.


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