Twenty two years ago, my wife Leanne received confirmation that she was pregnant with our first child. While I was able to share this good news in person with my mom, my father was away on a business trip. This good news was replaced by sorrow as my grandmother passed away on this same day. Following the funeral of my dad’s mother, new parenting classes attempted to prepare us for raising a child. Twenty one years ago over Memorial Day Weekend, Leanne endured 29 hours of labor to give birth to James.
I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone [just one grain, never more]. But if it dies, it produces much grain and yields a harvest, John 12:24.
Fast forwarding 19 years, another tragedy illustrates the circle of life. Leanne’s father was in a bad car accident, battling to stay a live for a couple of weeks. Away at college, James wasn’t able to be there as his grandfather passed away. However, James did call the hospital, breaking the news over the phone of a new girl friend. Jim’s funeral introduced Emma to our family, fitting in naturally. One year later, James shared he proposed to Emma, setting the date of his own wedding this Memorial Day Weekend. As death takes one soul away, the birth of a new relationship sets the stage for the circle of life to be completed.
The one who loves his life [eventually] loses it [through death], but the one who hates his life in this world [and is concerned with pleasing God] will keep it for life eternal, John 12:25.
As I experience hosting my first rehearsal dinner tonight, I am passing the torch to my oldest son. After tonight, James is on his own, starting a new journey with his soul mate Emma. I’m not sure exactly what to say, but all I know is to pass on words of wisdom from the Bible. As I think of the perfect thing to say, I am reminded of Jesus’ comments in the passage above. In the context of marriage, two will become one. Just as individuals must die to self so that Christ might live, couples must yield to God to take the wheel, direction in life. As my wife and I complete one task, raising James, we look forward to becoming supportive parents in Emma and James’ future endeavors.
by Jay Mankus