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February 27, 2006

A Grandad’s Love

We don’t always get much of an insight into the lives of those whose writngs we read every day.

This Leonard Pitts column is an exception – and shows just how important family is to the man. You see, his 10-year-old grandson, Eric, was hit by an SUV last week.

And a miracle happened.

So Tuesday afternoon, the phone rings. I pick it up and hear my daughter's voice. Her tone seems normal and I breathe easy. I figure she's going to hit me up for money, tell me we're out of milk. Then I hear her say, "Eric got hit by a car."

And suddenly, I am hurtling. Out of the office. To the parking lot. Down the highway. Eric is my grandson. He is 10.

I hate Eric.

This occurs to me as I am driving. I hate Eric and all my children and my wife and everyone else I love for how much I love them and for how love inevitably brings pain. They get hurt, they get sick, but it might as well be me for all the fear that stabs my heart. To love somebody is to make yourself hostage to the fortunes of others. It is to give a hundred people veto power over your happiness. Sometimes I think the smartest way to live is without affiliation — no family, no friends, no children, no spouse, no pet, no nobody who can hurt you.

You might say it's a pathetic man who goes through life neither loving nor loved. Most days I would agree. But there are days it doesn't sound like a bad deal. Days like this.

So here's what happened: Eric was trying to cross the street. Going to a friend's house to play video games. He looked both ways — twice, just like we taught him. When he was halfway across, he saw a car, an SUV, coming around the bend. Instead of continuing safely across, he tried to make it back to the curb.

The car hit him. He smacked the hood hard enough to leave a dent. A shoe flew one way, a video game another. My wife saw it happen. She ran to him. He was writhing in the street, crying. He kept saying, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

I am sitting beside his gurney in the emergency room as these words are written. The doctor has been in. His diagnosis: two lumps on the head and two skinned knees.

Let's repeat that to make sure you got it. The boy gets hit. By an SUV. He bounces off the hood. And he winds up with lumps and skinned knees. I am reminded of the refrain from a gospel song I've always loved. It says, "There must be a G-d somewhere."

There must be. And obviously, He was in a forgiving mood this day.

Eric is more voluble than usual. He says Spider-Man would have dodged the car. He says that like Wolverine, his "healing factor" kept him from serious injury. He says he is glad to be alive.

I keep thinking how all the uncertainty of life can be summed up in the ringing of a telephone. But it comes with the territory, doesn't it? Uncertainty, I mean. You just never know. Life is a dance on the highwire above mortality. It unfolds in the shadow of tragedies past and tragedies yet to come. There's nothing you can do about it except use the time in between to laugh, sing, hug, read comic books with your grandkid as often as you can.

And try to forget that you are a wisp in a wind. I hate that, too, but what are you going to do?

Eric is still chattering away, all nervous energy. He complains that I forgot to pay his allowance. He wants to go to Ruby Tuesday for dinner. And he says, he keeps saying, that he is glad to be alive.

I know just how he feels.

Thank you for sharing, sir. And my God keep you and you family safe and sound – especially this incredible young man whose incredible good fortune you shared with us.





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Comments on A Grandad’s Love

When you compare the story of Abraham and his son Isaac as found in the scriptures; being a parent takes on a much deeper meaning, and that was meant as a comparison, something to help us understand the relationship of our Savior with His Father. Parenthood, oh yes, nothing like it.

|| Posted by T F Stern, February 27, 2006 10:39 PM ||
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NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
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