But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them learn first to show piety towards their own family, and to repay their parents, for this is acceptable in the sight of God. (1 Timothy 5:4 WEB)
My work with computers has definitely impacted my life. Learning command lines, file formats, software and hardware were just the tip of the iceberg. Discovering things like bugs, crashes and the innate ability of a machine to make one rip roaring mad came with time. There’s a human quality in a computer. They usually do what you tell them but sometimes they take on a mind of their own. This reminds me of raising children.
Computers provided a number of excuses to fly to the USA for meetings, training and development. On these trips I often took an extra day or two to visit my mother in Tennessee. One summer other members of my family arrived at the same time. My brother and his wife were visiting from Asia. My other brother and his son were visiting from California. It was a mini family reunion. The only ones missing were my wife and children. They were back on Guam and missing all the family fun.
My brothers and I may be older and gray but we’re still boys. To demonstrate our maturity we’d sit about the living room and talk about life, love, and the meaning of the universe. We had all the answers, just ask us. Eventually the conversation would escalate to a competition.
I remember John stating, while changing the subject completely and starting the challenge, “I can bench press 200 pounds.” He glanced from chair to chair waiting for the rebuttal.
“Yeah, well I can build a notebook computer from tin foil and old plastic toys,” responded Steve calling on his technical background.
“Oh yeah,” countered John moving to the edge of his seat. “I can build a beam antenna from tinker toys and erector set parts.”
This banter continued back and forth for several minutes as I silently considered my entry into the fray. This was no simple battle of words. This was a life and death struggle for filial superiority. As my mind worked through a series of exaggerated boasts I considered how to end this verbal banter with a crushing blow.
I cleared my throat. My brothers paused and looked my direction. Here sat their little brother. Here was the poetry reading, music playing, baby of the family attempting to enter the holy ground of verbal one-up-pence. I paused, in a polite southern manner, made eye contact and launched my attack.
“I maintain thirty computers, two servers, two networks,” so far they were not impressed. “Living on a tropical island I can go to the beach any day of the year,” a slight nod of their heads but the barricades of pride weren’t breached. “And . . . I have four children, and . . . I am taller than either of you!” I turned to look toward our Mom, Grandmother, and proud ancestor of my brood.
No response, just a look in their eyes conceding to my taller stature and larger family. The victory was complete. Single handedly I conquered their claims with statements only a mother could appreciate. Since it was Mom’s house that was the winning blow. Four grandchildren, what more could she want.
In truth, there was another grandchild to grace our family in the years ahead. However, at that time I was at the head of the pack. The battle won even if only temporary, the victory assured for the moment, it was time to move on to more important things, food!
Mom’s house was small and the kitchen was the favorite meeting place. My Filipina sister in law made great lumpia my favorite Asian delicacy. To sit, eat and discuss family life is one of the great pleasures of being in a parent’s home.
Fixing faucets, shutters, and trimming trees are a delight when we have the chance to be home and helpful to Mom once more. Since we’re spread across the globe this doesn’t happen often but we enjoy every chance to get together, boast, share and laugh with one another and see who gets the upper hand.
I’m reminded of the banquet table set in Heaven. Think about it. An eternal chance to sit, laugh, share, boast, (well maybe not in Heaven), and fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
We can make our claims and our accomplishments in the world known and then smile as we counter each other’s claims. Then, from his seat at the table, the Lord will clear his throat. We’ll all turn to watch and wait. After a short pause, a good southern tradition, he’ll make one statement.
“I gave my life as your ransom, for you.”
We’ll remain silent.