Scott Simon is the Saturday morning NPR host, known for his weekly monologues. This past Saturday’s post featured a reflection on his two kids’ advancing another year in school, one to 9th grade, the other through high school. One line, in particular, named a reality that resonated with me deeply. He said, “We have a special and distinct view of our kids…we see them as all ages at once…whatever they go on to be, we always see through to their beginnings, their fears and dreams and their goodness.”
I was deeply struck by this idea as a parent of 6 and 8-year-olds as we face the end of a year of school; one marked by incredibly unique learning opportunities, emotional challenges, and deep personal growth. I shed a few tears as I usually do, honoring the step up that will occur and the milestone that the last day of school always is.
But also, this reality of “all ages at once” speaks to the special gift of being in an Intergenerational (all-ages) church community…that we also get to watch other people’s kids grow up, figure themselves out, fail a little, soar a little, and most definitely celebrate in their milestones. And, we get to carry one another as adults, through our adult transitions as well—new children, retirement, job struggles, death of loved ones, questioning of our vocation, etc.
As we approach another summer together and we look ahead to a new chapter in our church’s life, I am excited for the changes to come, but also deeply respectful of and honoring of all the years, efforts, community decisions, and new ideas that have been attempted. We, like Scott Simon said, see our kids at all ages at once, and I think the same is true for this church community. We are all people at once, and not only have our kids changed, but so have many of us.
As we gather in groups, might we be open and honest in our conversations about how we are doing? Can those of us who loved this past year express that without fear of hurting the feelings of others who have deeply struggled? Can those of us who were traumatized by so much of the past year have space to grieve and name our pain? Absolutely. It is our gift and call as a human community to have space for both of those experiences (some of us have walked the line and feel both simultaneously). For when we do, we honor the past but also create space for a powerful future.
I am excited for our days ahead, Prince of Peace, and I look forward to us all seeing one another and speaking to the realities of our separation. And ultimately, how we take the learnings of this past year to serve the hurts and hopes of friends, neighbors and strangers.