Last Saturday evening the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly were reclining on the living room sofa enjoying our evening cup of coffee. It is a wonderful way to unwind after a week of activity. No matter how hectic the week was, a few quiet moments with a cup of Joe can put everything in perspective.
After an extended time of silence my wife spoke.
“Listen. Do you hear that?” “Hear what?” I inquired. “That. Don’t you hear it?” The smile on her face indicated that what she was hearing was rather pleasing.
Well, I strained my ears as if they were corn and I still did not hear a thing. Usually, I am up on all the sounds echoing throughout our abode, mainly because I am the source of most of them, but this had me bafﬂed. The more I strained the less I heard.
“You don’t hear that?” I put my coffee cup down so I could give all my attention to hearing exactly what she was hearing. It is a proven fact that women hear a lot more than men do. It probably is a genetic thing wives inherit from their mothers. The only things men inherit from their fathers are “pull my ﬁnger” jokes, which only come in handy at family reunions.
Then, to my delight, I heard it, too. It was the golden tones of silence whistling through the corridors of our house. Ah, silence, my old friend.
For the past week that sound was a stranger within our walls. But now, much to our delight, it had returned and what a return.
For the past week, all the Snyder grandchildren had invaded our home front. At last count, there were eight. I can’t be sure because several of them, I’m not sure how many, were running around so much I could not count them. They ranged from 9 months all the way to 13 years.
There are two girls and the rest are…well, not girls. When someone said that boys will be boys, they sure knew what they were talking about.
It was one glorious seven-day-period of activity, noise and, yes, something I had forgotten, smells. I can never figure out how something so cute and so small can smell…well…so bad. Why is it grandchildren always want to sit on grandpa’s lap when they are in such a delicate condition? Do they think, as we get older our nose goes into hibernation? Mine hasn’t, yet. Believe me.
My wife and I tried packing into those 7 days as much memories as humanly possible. It is a rare time when the grandchildren are all in one place – our place. We enjoyed some great times together and went to some local places of interest, interest to children. For some reason my suggestion of visiting some of my favorite used bookstores did not ﬂ y, but the beach was a resounding “Yeaaaaaa.”
So, to the beach we went fully attired in the proper swimming gear. As the ofﬁcial family photographer, I could not go into the water. I actually made that rule up, but nobody objected. Everyone was too busy yelling, “Hey, grandpa, watch this,” to worry about my swimming.
Once back home I broke out my secret cache of water pistols and the water ﬁght to end all water ﬁghts commenced. All I know is that next month when I get my water bill I will wonder who in the world used all that water. Then, I will smile when I remember how in the world it was used. Money well spent, I assure you.
Now, all of that is memory, and oh, what memories. For months, my wife and I will say to each other, “Do you remember what Owen said?” Then we will laugh again. Or, “Do you remember what Simon did?” And the memory will have us in hysterics.
In some quiet moment one of us will say, “I was just thinking of what Dylan did at the beach when he they were all here.” And the other will smile and nod remembering the incident.
“Remember when all the grandchildren were on the trampoline?”
We will and it will be hard to wipe the smile from our faces. Memories are better remembered in silent moments when they can rightly be appreciated.
Then my wife said, “Didn’t Tyler and Taylor and Jordan and Olivia seem to enjoy playing with their cousins from Ohio? I’ve never seen them so happy.”
In one of those pensive moments I thought about who had the good sense to invent grandchildren. There must have been a quiet moment in heaven when God looked around and said, “It’s too quiet here. What can we do to liven things up a little?”
Everybody looked at each other and the silence got quieter. It was then that God had one of those moments that changes everything. He smiled and looked at everyone and said, “I know exactly what is needed.” Then God created his greatest work, grandchildren.
I like what the Bible says along this line. “Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.” (Proverbs 17:6).
God seems to like the idea of grandchildren. “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;” (Psalms 103:17).
Silence may be golden but it does not compare to the silver trumpet of grandchildren all talking at the same time.
[Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Phone 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att. net. The church web site is www. whatafellowship.com.]