"" Writer's Wanderings: The Fountain Of Youth

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Fountain Of Youth

[I found this essay among my archives. It was written almost exactly seven years ago. In light of the recent visit of all our grandchildren, I thought it would be fun to post it.]

When you think of Naomi in the Book of Ruth in the Bible, what is the first thing that comes to mind? The perfect mother-in-law? The relationship she had with Ruth who would not leave her side? I always took the mother-in-law angle when I thought of the story, hoping that I could be a mother-in-law that my daughters-in-law would look up to. But recently during a series of sermons from our pastor in the Book of Ruth, I happened upon the real secret in that story--the discovery of the fountain of youth. Grandchildren!!

When Boaz marries Ruth and she delivers their child, Obed, she hands him over to Naomi. The women of the village surround Naomi and the Bible verse reads, “May this child restore your youth.” (Ruth 4:15, New Living Translation). In the Message it reads, “He’ll make you young again!”

And that’s exactly what grandchildren do--make us young again. Suddenly we are thinking of fun things to do often in childish ways. We are enjoying ice cream in a cone that drips too fast in hot weather. Splashing our bare feet in the shallow waters of a beach. Coloring again with crayons and marveling at their unusual names. Seeing the world through a youngster’s eyes.

Grandparents do need to remember however that they can overdo just as much as a child might. There’s a reason young children need a nap and there’s a good reason grandma or grandpa might too. As Gene Perret, a comedy writer who pokes fun at himself and other grandparents with this line says, “An hour with your grandchildren can make you feel young again. Anything longer than that and you start to age quickly.” Which to me just says, don’t drain the fountain of youth all in one visit. Pace yourself. Plan some quiet times in between those backyard scrimmages.

Perret does come back with another line that I find endearing. “What a bargain grandchildren are! I give them my loose change, and they give me a million dollars’ worth of pleasure.” I say make that a million dollars worth of rejuvenation.

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