This past week we welcomed the arrival of our eighth grandchild, a boy, Matteo. What started out as a love affair has now firmly become a family affair. At the beginning, a lifetime stretched out into a long indefinable era. In hindsight, it is a vapour that fades away.
Such is the legacy of life. Full of promise, but often a past season of regrets. Not that Ann and I have made some egregious error, but rather we failed in slivers of effort, and plans didn’t turn out as expected.
Early in life, we feel we have all the answers, and strangely enough, we probably do—the rules of life are not all that obscure—but the final achievement is still elusive. Why does life disappoint us this way? Why does a lament for things not done, undone, or poorly done replace such vibrant promise.
Christianity provides the answer: we live in a fallen world. This is not some error or breakdown that an inveterate Mr. Fixit can correct. It is an endemic situation that defies the most passionate and ardent crusader, because we are all afflicted with the same malaise.
We are all infected with evil potential; clearly revealed in historic and current dictators, but usually hidden in the depths of most of us. If we are honest, we are not proud of our secret thought life and desires, which clearly betrays the streak we try to ignore.
As long as we deny it, it will always undercut our efforts. If we confess it and our need of cleansing, there is provision at the cross, not only for a remedy, but that our earthly efforts, however frail, can have lasting significance. Here we start planning for eternity, and not a mirage of life endlessly pursued.
A new life is always a reminder of hidden potential. I pray that little Matteo will find the way of a meaningful life while still young.