This past week was a blessing as my wife and I played out one of our most important roles – that being “in-person” grandparents. What made it special was that we were in Colorado visiting our oldest son, Jacob, his wife Jammie, and two of our grandchildren – Samantha and Mallory. Because they are a 16-hour drive away, we only get to physically be with them for a week or two each of the five years that they have lived out west. So, when we have the opportunity to get together, it is treasured.
The grandparent highlight was being able to sit in the audience when 11-year-old Mallory participated in a theatrical production of ELF, the Musical. Mallory developed the theatre bug a couple of years ago, and while we have seen video snippets of her earlier efforts, this was the first time that we were able to coordinate a visit with one of her performances.
The children’s theatrical group that Mallory participates in goes all the way up to high school seniors. It is typically the older, more experienced actors that get the lead roles. Mallory was in most of the scenes though, both as an elf, and as part of the New York crowd. Her place was usually in the second row – just behind the lead characters. When life places you in the second row, you can either shine through, or you can shrink back. Mallory shined!
It is such a treat to watch young people discover something that really excites them. I know that it was expected, but the smile on her face didn’t need to be forced as it was obvious that she truly enjoyed every moment.
You could probably say that I was just an appropriately proud grandfather, but it was more than pride. I could sense that this was a sharing in the joy that God feels when one of his children blossoms and shows the beauty of their smile, their talent, their in-most being that He blessed them with. These are gifts intended to be shared. St. Irenaeus captured this experience when he said, “The glory of God is man [a person] fully alive, but the life of man [a person] is the vision of God.” Human action takes on an even greater significance when we consider this statement, for, if God’s glory is a person fully alive, then our life, when well-lived, is a noble endeavor. It inspires our own heart to soar higher, and it inspires others to soar in their own unique way as well.
I pray that Mallory, that you, that I keep discovering our own uniqueness. Everything worth finding, everything worth possessing, everything worth sharing is worth searching for.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46