Artist's Lane

Keeping the lid off


I told my Sweet Al, “To live in a bubble in this day and age would be easier, but we can’t. We must live in the real world and stay connected with our grandchildren. This gives them the freedom to come to us with their crazy wild ideas. Even if their ideas are not of our choosing, we must be cheerleaders for them.”

The way we can stay current is to keep moving forward with the next generation and the things they are facing. Moving forward, but staying anchored, with our beliefs and without compromising, is possible. It’s like filling a quart Ball jar with a gallon of water. How do we do that? We keep an open mind and we keep the lid off.

This is what we are doing as we relate to them. We’re not changing the size, but allowing their ideas to flow in and out. It actually allows us to hold more. Guck on the bottom is being washed away; all the things we held on to that aren’t important. The jar is still quart size, godly principles remain the same, but we’re asked to think bigger with more grace than we have in the past.

This week I edited some writings for my grandson. I thought, “Wow. He trusts me with his words.” I’m thrilled he would ask me to edit his work. I told him why I changed his sentences and paragraphs.

He wrote back with the corrected version with a great ending. “I am grateful for all of your assistance. I hope you enjoy this write-up, I learned from what you typed, and added the final conclusion.”

I responded, “To have a teachable spirit is wise.” 

The same goes for me. I need to be teachable. His topic is not to my taste, but he has acquired a taste for expensive cigars.

Oh me, I’m learning a lot about the tools and the cutting of the cigar for a satisfying smoke. He’s almost convinced me to smoke one. Not quite, but keeping the lid off the jar is the goal.

We’ve got to stay relevant to those around us. Our grandchildren are moving forward, we must be open to what is happening in their world. My other grandson has a beautiful radio voice. His quick humor is authentic. He could host a game show and never hem or haw.

He is producing podcasts. His last one showed up on YouTube. He was interviewing Adam Dahman, a leader for Grayscale Season, a band.

As I listened to the interview with Adam Dahman, I was amazed at how prepared my grandson was and how well-informed he is about Christian rock bands and hard rock bands. The interview flowed without a hiccup, pause or an awkward moment.

The music pounded in my ears as I pushed past the sound and listened to this amazing child who has a remarkable career in front of him. Would I ever listen to rock music? Absolutely not, but I will listen to my grandson.

And yes, all three of my grandsons have tattoos. Each time I see them, they have added another one and another one. My daughters begged their sons not to get tattoos. As soon as the boys left the house, they went to the tattoo parlor.

I said to one of my grandsons, “Please don’t show up like Jelly Roll with crosses on your face and tears on your cheeks. He was astounded that I even knew Jelly Roll. I told him, “Actually, I like Jelly Roll’s music. I want to cry for this sad man. I can feel his pain. But don’t come home with face tattoos. I don’t love his pain that much.”

Another grandson showed up with fresh ink. “Rent Due,” tattooed on his forearm. What’s that?

Is that like a Post-it note to remind him to pay his rent? He explained to me about tattoos. They tell their story.

If I had a tattoo on my body every time there was another story to tell, good or bad, I wouldn’t have enough real estate or ink to tell them all. Maybe that’s how this next generation copes with the world they live in. I can’t judge. My life seems pretty harmless compared to what is thrown at them today.

Final brushstroke: I am learning how to keep an open mind without compromising, holding to what is the truth. This quart Ball jar is overflowing with blessings from my grandchildren.

I have often apologized for my thoughtlessness and poor judgment, but I will never apologize for Jesus. He is the answer, today, tomorrow and forever. My arms are getting wider, and I’m learning how to embrace a bigger world, but the answer still remains the same: Jesus.

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