Where does the time go? For that matter, where did I go? from 1958 at age 16, to 1967 at age 25 to 2012 and I’m not telling you my age for that year. I’ll make you work for that conclusion. The me that once was, the me who was becoming, and the me who is now. I did not say, the me who has been. No way! But I’m still in there, somewhere. The added weight and lines and sags, hair loss and flaws, speak to experience and experiences, to living life, to trying and proving, to learning and knowing, to mistakes and recoveries. I can truthfully say I would not want to go back to relive the years. I might enjoy a youthful body, a blemish free skin, the joy of hair on the top of my face rather than over it. Yet, I do not wish to revisit the uncertainties, the unknown, the questions of those earlier years. Once around the track turns out to be good enough. I am thankful there is still much to enjoy, and I shall do that but because it is predictably troublesome and terminal, I am not eager to live through all that must yet be learned in this stage. I consider myself fortunate rather than deluded, that I have a sure and certain hope about life beyond this, which is the outcome of faith in God who accepts me as his child and has prepared me for whatever is next, by an act done by someone else other than me. Ask me, if you cannot fill in the blanks to your satisfaction. I remain on course.
I will always wish that my children could
have known us and seen us when Christine and I were young. When Christine
walked with long legs under pleated skirts, with her waspish waist, and
confident stride. When she sat with her long, brunette hair cascading over her
shoulders, and smiled so infectiously the room became happy. I wish my children
could have heard her sing as she sang in the years before they were born. The
young voice, trained and still finding its way but with the promise of
accomplishment and joy. I wish they might have known her when her faith was
fresh from God’s work in her heart at age seventeen.
I wonder what my children might have
thought of me if they had seen me as a young man of eighteen, with strong body,
legs of power, lean and muscled torso. Would they have said, “wow” when they
watched me on the track or rolling over the bar at the high jump pit. I would
like to have them see my hair swept to the sides and dovetailed together at the
back, held in place by Brylcream, a curly whisp of hair falling at my forehead.
If only they might have heard me sing when I was sixteen and winning vocal
contests as a boy soprano and then within months singing a baritone. And what
pleasure they might have to see me baptized at seventeen years of age, and
later at eighteen attending Urbana Conference in Illinois and telling God I
will serve Him with my life.
And my grandchildren, who know nothing
about Papa and Nana, Grandma and Grandpa Unruh but what they have seen since
their births and through their young years. They know us as we are now. They
may not even have interest in learning about who we were and what we were like
and how life shaped us. They are as expected preoccupied with their own happy
lives, homes, friends and opportunities. They nonetheless love us and want us
around, not merely for the things we give them, but for the unconditional
loving embraces they know they will predictably receive from us. I can wonder
and I can wish, yet, for a seven year old to phone and ask to come over to hang
out, or for a ten year old to want to come over to paint with me, or another
ten year old want to play golf with Papa, or a twelve year old to come over to
bake with grandma, or a fourteen year old to want to shop with grandma,
certainly not grandpa, is good enough. It's as good as it gets.
I am writing the history. It can endure
beyond my time. It will remain available to the grandchildren if and when they
have an interest to learn about the young man and woman who fell in love in the
late 1960s and married on an August 12th afternoon in 1967.