I felt the hot sand under my feet and wondered why it didn’t seem to bother the little ones. Here at the lakeside with three of my grandchildren, the youngest not even two years old. They played in the water and the sand, completely unaware of the inherent risks in the fun.
I stepped into the water and the edges of gravel rubbed on my soft soles. You would think that by my mid-fifties – I would be able to withstand the discomfort of a sandy lake bottom – you would think so, anyway. I followed my five year old grandson out toward the buoyed rope while I watched my four year old granddaughter move in a different direction.
I don’t remember being so concerned about dangers at every turn with my own children. I drove a VW station wagon and allowed my first son to ride in the rear cargo area as a toddler – no seat belt, no restraint at all – other than the sidewalls and windows of the car. My grandchildren have car seats, booster seats, adapters to the seat belts and can only ride behind me. Each time I take my grandkids somewhere, safety is the norm.
Sometimes, I wonder if I worry too much.
I know so much more now than I did when I was a young parent. Maybe that’s why I worry.
I called out to Mackenzie to swim back toward me. The request was met with the never ending “Why?” of a four year old on a mission. She resisted for a moment. But it would be more fun to climb on Grandpa’s back than to go the other direction, so her resistance was short-lived. Both Nicholas and Mackenzie had on life jackets, so the immediate threat was neutralized…but knowing this did not really calm my apprehensive fears.
I scanned the water for grandkids and felt panic when Nicholas was nowhere to be found. I looked on the beach and saw him with his mom, wrestling with a new kids’ sized beach umbrella. As I relaxed, Mackenzie grabbed me around the neck and told me to swim with her on my back. She had full confidence in me. I wondered what she would think if she knew that Grandpa could not swim.
This exchange is not unlike that of us and our Savior. We move toward danger and when He beckons us back, I imagine He hears the never ending “Why?” from us. While he motions that there is a drop-off just beyond the safety rope, we long to go beyond it anyway. Sometimes we are simply defiant and want to go our own way. Other times we are fully confident in His ability to hold us up, no matter where we find ourselves.
It would be far better if while confident in Him, we also trusted Him to lead us where we need to go. Instead of grasping for him when we get into deep water – we should follow His leading and stay in the “safe” zone.
I took Maia’s hand as I walked back to the car. This is a grandpa’s life. Little ones completely relying on Grandpa to keep them safe.
When they’re older, they will probably laugh at my grandpa socks and my sneakers on the beach. But until then, I will just be who I am.
We should trust our Savior as much as my grandchildren trust me.