Two of our grandchildren were born thirteen hours apart. I wasn’t able to make it to both birth celebrations, but my husband did. He scrambled from one hospital to the other, one hundred thirty miles away, showing his sincere desire to welcome them into the world. The challenge to be with each baby seemed to set a precedent. The two children battle for his attention.
Fascinated, we’d watch the babies as one crawler would immediately notice if the other climbed onto Pepa’s lap. As fast as their little body could move, the youngster would wriggle across the room to claim their spot.
As they became sturdier on their feet, the competition heated up. If one of them decided the other was getting too much play time with their grandfather, they would either shove their adversary aside or yank them back by the hair on their head.
The pushes, whimpers, and periodical temper tantrums have developed over time to more sophisticated ploys to distract the opponent and win Pepa’s affection. In grade school now, their strategies fittingly engage their particular skills.
The grandson’s strength is action. Pictures capture the intensity on his face as he’s run down the soccer field and lined up his foot with the ball for the kick. He rides his bike fast and then skids to a stop. He skips rocks across the water five and six hops at a time.
He says, “Look what I can do, Pepa.” A cock of his eyebrow and smug smile say I can out do you, Cousin.
The granddaughter’s strength is capturing the moment. She adjusts her catcher’s knee pads perfectly and waves to the crowd as she exits the softball field. With a hand on her hip, she tilts her foot to show off her stylish choice of shoes. She sighs – she could skip rocks if she wanted to.
She says, “Look at me, Pepa.” Her raised eyebrow and nod say I’m a force to be reckoned with, Cousin.
On more than one occasion, they’ve come to me with little worry lines on their foreheads, wondering where Pepa went. I assure them that he’ll be back shortly. As soon as he arrives, they run to him. Why not? Pepa has a tractor. Pepa buys candy. But mostly, Pepa is devoted to their every need. All their energy goes to gain his attention.
There’s no doubt they will continue to adore their Pepa, and I’m sure the battle for recognition will resolve itself as they learn that there’s plenty of him to go around.
That’s how our relationship with God should be. He is thrilled that we are his children. He watches us with pleasure, and he loves when we invest all our strength and abilities to make him happy.
“Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.” I Chron 16: 10-11
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4: 13