My slightly topsy-turvy schedule gives me a different view of Monday morning than most people have. For me it is the end of my week and ahead of me lie my “weekend” days off on Tuesday and Wednesday. And while it takes a bit of getting used to to have to work each week on Saturday and Sunday, I’ve come to appreciate this time-shifted work-week. I find it amusing and take some pleasure in thinking to myself, that as others are muttering “I hate Mondays” or thinking of this day as “blue Monday,” I am saying instead, “Thank God, it’s Monday!” Tell me there is no such thing as relativism!
This innocuous little example illustrates the difference our frame of reference makes in how we experience the world. Another impending one illustrates it further. By April 29th, Mike and Cheryl will celebrate the birth of their son, and my grandson, Connor Michael. When he arrives in the year of our Lord 2005, he’ll be starting out life in quite a different world than the one I started out in on November 7th, 1941. He’ll be a native-born Tennessean, not a transplanted Georgian as I am. Rather than growing up as an only child, as I did, he’ll be surrounded by three older sisters, Madison, Morgan and Kaitlin, a blended family constellation from his mother and father’s prior marriages, and in that regard, his experience of that will be far more common than it ever was in my day. He’ll come into the world as a citizen of the world’s only super power and a member of a nation where cultural values are becoming more conservative and more influenced by fundamental religious values. Perhaps he’ll grow up thinking that is a good thing, and in that he and I will disagree. He’ll take being connected to the rest of the world through the Internet for granted rather than seeing it as the marvelous phenomenon that I do. He and I will be related by blood, of course, but beyond that he might think of me as an alien being, just as his world will seem alien to me.
As I think about how different my grandson’s world will be from my own, I realize how infinitely wise and what a great blessing it is that life is finite. One can take only so much transition in a lifetime and by the time he reaches old age, leaving this world of constant change is the only relief that can be hoped for. I now understand to a greater extent than ever before why so many older people whom I have known have viewed the world as regressing. Just as I’ll rejoice in the beginning of my grandson’s life, I think I’ll welcome the end of my own, even if my body desperately struggles to obey the life-long imperative to resist its arrival. I celebrate life but also acknowledge the wisdom of death. Finite is alright as far as I am concerned.