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Standing Up to Scrutiny

1 Corinthians 13:11-13 (New Living Translation)

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

I remember that awkward, painful, anguished time--adolescence. As flawed and fallible as my father was, I am sorry for the beating he took from me during those "growing up" years.

During my childhood he was the one who held a magic stick that would drag him to points on the living room floor like a branch in the hand of a water diviner. Sure enough, under the carpet, where the stick pointed, Robert my younger brother, and I, would find pennies mysteriously hidden. He also kept us spell-bound by producing pennies from behind his ear and we never tired of the way he could make his ears move, seemingly at will.

He would sit patiently while I combed his dark blonde hair--fine as spun silk--arranging it over his high forehead. He gave me the gift of wonder and made me believe that the light catching a piece of glass at the bottom of the garden really was a fairy.

But during my teens I railed against him--seeing only all of his failures with the harshness and idealism of youth.

He had the soul of an artist--a sensitive, poet's soul. He could paint and draw well, and write. I was so disappointed that he never used these gifts, but worked in what I scornfully saw then as menial jobs.

I outgrew my scorn, judgment and lack of personal humility later and developed a more balanced view, but I'm thinking this morning about the scrutiny of teenagers. In four years, the eldest two of our six grandchildren will arrive on the shores of that land of passage. I wonder--how will I stand up to their sudden clarity of vision? Now I am their beloved Omie--then, I hope that I can still make them proud.

I hope they see my faith as true and my life as having integrity. I hope they see that I am okay with being less than perfect, but that with all my heart I'm open to God's hand--allowing him to change and shape me into a better person. I hope that they won't look at the gifts God gave me and wonder why I didn't use them. These things really, really matter to me.
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