The lights were dimmed for this closing conversation of another day with my granddaughter. The acrid smell of a girl at play had been replaced by the sweet fragrance of body wash and strawberry conditioner. Nightgown knit caressed her tender skin, a welcome exchange from the no-nonsense fabric of uniform khaki.
Just after the bedtime rituals and right before the final tuck-in, she asked me what it was like to be old. I wasn’t offended. To a child of seven, everyone over the age of twelve seems old.
I began to share my own musings on the passing of many years. “Being old is wonderful. You have seen so many places and have so many memories. Getting old is wonderful because of…”
Before I could finish, she interrupted, “Grandchildren. You have to be old before you can have grandchildren.”
“Yes! Yes,” I said. “That is absolutely the best part of being old.”
I was, of course, delighted by my newfound knowledge that my hugs, kisses, hand-written notes and special treats had conveyed the accurate message of love. Even more, I was touched by her obvious sense of security in knowing she was treasured.
Here was a child who knew her very existence brought me pleasure. She had no doubt that I delighted in her, her sister and her cousins. Relaxing into this verbal reminder of my unquestionable love for her, she let go of the final reins of day as night carried her toward peaceful rest.
Our little conversation took me to my own familiar place. In her confident declarations, I relived my own relationship with a heavenly Father who cherishes me. I recalled his constant tenderness to me, even when I was slow to call it love. I remembered learning to rest safely in the arms of the One who loves me with an everlasting love.
The exchange gave me insight into my Father’s heart as well. If my granddaughter’s knowledge of my love brought me such joy, how much more is the One who delights in me pleased when I am confident in his love.
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)