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  • ivanildotrindade 1:24 pm on January 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: absent grandparents, book of lamentation, , Grandparent, grandparents, Holiday, Home, lament, lamentation, losing grandparents, nostalgia, , ,   

    My Book of Lamentation 

    It’s amazing how much you learn about your surroundings just by sitting at Starbucks and listening to people talk. Now I know this is dangerous business because you can be accused of eavesdropping or worse yet you may hear threads of conversations and build a whole narrative around them. Or you may think you heard something when in reality the people were talking about something also.

    I noticed today an elderly couple who walked into the store. The woman looked frail, she carried a cane and had a distant look in her eyes which I have seen in people who are about to depart. I also noticed how one of the employees was so deferential to that couple and immediately told them to grab a table “before it was gone” — Starbucks was rather crowded this morning. He got their drinks ready and then, as the lady came to get her freshly brewed coffee, I heard him refer to her as “grandma.”

    A few minutes went by and before I knew it the employee took a break, sat at the table with the couple, and began to talk. He told them about a train trip — which was not as comfortable as going by plan but it was good; he even said they had Internet on the train! They talked about the advantages of having or not having a car — this guy rides the bus to and from work, which is how I started talking to him the first time I met him at the store, as he was waiting for a co-worker to get off so he could get a ride home. The last bus had already come and gone. They talked about budgeting and the demands of Holiday spending. They talked about an optimum time for him to go see his mom. Then the couple inquired about his day off — tomorrow, and they made plans to pick him up for lunch. 11:30.

    You know what I mean about being accused of eavesdropping now? Please, believe me when I say that I was sitting across the room from them and the words were floating in the common air space where decoding is free. I heard all of that while quietly removing dead cuticle from my nails in my corner of the store, and I was not taking notes!

    But that scene made me nostalgic. I realized I was witnessing something unique. And I realized I was indirectly living something I was never privileged to do in my life. You see, from the time I was seven, my siblings and I moved to a different state, and from that time on, we were never in the presence of our grandparents on both sides of the family for more than just a few precious minutes. Actually, I don’t even remember my grandparents on my dad’s side of the family, and I had oh so little interaction with the ones on my mom’s side.

    And today I lament that. Yes, lamentation is the right word for it. I don’t use that word lightly. My rules for lamentation are plain and simple: 1. You are only allowed to lament over stuff that has already happened — no “lamenting forward” in my book, for life is too precious to have it ruined by the possibility that something might not turn out the way I want it. 2. You are only allowed to lament over stuff you had no control over. If you see the “check engine” light go on and you still decide to make that 500-mile one way spring break trip and the engine blows up circa 299 miles, don’t come to me lamenting your bad luck. 3. You are only allowed to lament over stuff that cannot be fixed.

    My grandparents are all dead and gone now. I cannot fix that. My wife and I also moved, not to a different state, but to a different Continent, when our children were small. I cannot fix that. But perhaps I can do something about not moving away from my grandchildren — if and when I get my own. I can do something about my children being the last generation in the Trindade line that will have to lament the loss of the grandparents’ presence.

    Starbucks awaits.

    A footnote: I just spoke to “Joseph” (the name I am ascribing to the employee aforementioned) and he told me that indeed they were his grandparents, that they are well into their 80’s and that his grandmother had a devastating stroke last year but she is doing much better today. I told him, “You are honored to have them in your life.” He said, “Thank you for telling me that.”

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

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    • Bob & Linda 4:05 pm on January 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      My Dear Brother in Christ Our Lord,
      You are so “spot on” with this post. I was blessed to be able to be in close proximity to all of my Grandparents. That was good. They were unique in their own rights. They have all passed away but I have no regrets. In my time I believe this was more normal than not. That certainly isn’t the case today. We are all over the place. I heard a man this week with tears in his eyes talk about only seeing his two grand daughters but twice in their life since they live in different states. So sad but so true.
      Keep looking up, “perhaps today!”
      Bob & Linda

      • ivanildotrindade 1:03 pm on January 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        thanks for your comment, bob. yes, indeed, u were blessed to have your grandparents in your life. i feel sad for that man who connected so little to his grand daughters. that is even worse than my case, I think.

    • Ted Beaver 9:20 pm on January 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you pastor, this gave me something to think about!

      • ivanildotrindade 1:05 pm on January 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        that’s my purpose, ted — help u think, but not too hard. i hope somehow this will help you in your journey. we can all learn from each other’s experiences. thanks for posting a reply!

    • Mary Barr 9:45 pm on January 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I’ll give this a great big “LIKE”… I was SO blessed by grandparents that filled in for absent parents!

    • lionjudah 10:12 pm on January 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I doubt if we can live without lamenting about something. May I comment on this blog: The discussion reminds me of a conversation I had, maybe 40-years ago with a gentlemen. It was, “Are we stealing when we pickup a newspaper and read the news and do not purchase the paper?”

      He said, “The papers print for market profit, information that they received free!” As I think about it, wouldn’t this be the same as eaves dropping?

      Nevertheless, I am always amazed that important men and women meet in restaurants or public meeting places/hotel lobbies and discuss private stuff–they get so involved in conversation that they become oblivious to the persons around them who can easily eaves drop! I confess that I love to oblige whenever I can.

      A short time in my life I slept in a second bed in my parents room. I loved to pretend I was sleeping so I could then listen as they talked. Was that eaves dropping? How often we will be talking in a public place and suddently the person we are speaking with, suddenly cocks his ear to hear another conversation?

      When a high school senior we took the usual trip to the nation’s capitol. (1954) A guide led us in the hugh capitol rotundra and demonstrated how someone in the periforary could hear discussions from the center. In this way he explained a civil war plan from one side was easily understood by the other side.

      One can sometimes learn important news as well as lessons from eaves dropping. Your reflections, Pastor Ivanildo clearly point that out. Well done.

      Lamentation serves us well–it is like holding the “stuff” of life in tention. When I wrote my autobiography: RESOLVED TO FINISH STRONG,” I often wept while I wrote and relived scenes from my life. I lament that had I had a mentor to walk with me I believe could have avoided some pitfalls and have “Strengthened My Grip,” as Chuck Swindoll wrote.

      I was lamenting and musing this to a close friend, Dr. Arthur G. Mcphee, professor of missiology and he gave me this quote BY jAMES bARRIE:

      “THE LIFE OF A MAN IS A DIARY IN WHICH HE MEANS TO WRITE ONE STORY
      AND WRITES ANOTHER: AND HIS HUMBLEST HOUR IS WHEN HE COMPARES
      THE VOLUME AS IT IS WITH WHAT HE VOWED TO MAKE IT.”

      • ivanildotrindade 1:10 pm on January 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        thanks, harold. i think i have written here about the ethics of taking discarded newspapers at starbucks, but that is a different situation from what your friend was talking about 40 years ago. i am not even going to try to think of the logic behind his line of thinking. wouldn’t this apply to a whole lot of other things — like library books, for example? and your james barrie quote? sounds to me like the problem could be solved if he simple had a good publicist and a merciless editor — that will take care of writing a book that is longer than your original plan. 🙂

    • lionjudah 4:53 am on January 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Your excellent eaves dropping reflections has jogged my memory of eaves dropping, too! I remember discussing the subject of “Is it stealing if you pick up a newspaper and read it without purchasing the paper? His rationale was this: “NO. He argued that newspapers actually are printing information that costs them nothing plus they are selling it for profit. I love to oblige “eaves dropping” when folks discuss private info in public whenever I can. Great article!
      The lionjudah.

  • ivanildotrindade 5:19 pm on March 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bad examples, bullying, , grandparenting, grandparents, pouncing on the weak, , T. J. Lang   

    Bullying does not start in the school yard 

    Stories. What are their values if not to teach us something about ours or other people’s characters? Yes, some are funny, some can entertain, but if they can’t teach something for us to imitate or avoid, they are useless tales. In my book, anyway. So let me share a few with you this week.

    A friend of mine tells me about his mother-in-law. She goes to a nice hotel with his family and while there she hits the pool with the grandchildren. The kids immediately set their sides on a couple of noodles they must have to play with in the pool, but there is one problem — the noodles are not available. They are currently being in possession of another set of little kids who are happily playing with their young father, who happens to be Asian.

    The kids go to grandma and demand to have those noodles. Now what would you do if you were the grandma in question? Any sensible person would call the kids and tell them to wait their turn, right? You would probably say something like, “Look, they got here before we did, and they got the toys. We must wait until they are done or if they lose interest, we can ask whether we might use them.”

    Not this grandmother, though. She tells the children to go to the corner where the happy kids are and start making noise, splashing water “and you will see how quickly they will leave the pool.” This reminded me of a friend from Israel who married a Brazilian lady. He told me that whenever he got stopped by the Highway Patrol for some violation — over there they take you to a little office along the road — he would order his kids to get out of the car, and mess with everything inside the little office — bathrooms, telephones, scissors, you name it. Soon the frustrated policeman would tell him to go away and take his little devils with him!

    Back to my friend’s story. Sure enough, after a little while, the exasperated family upped and left the pool, leaving the precious noodles to the “victors.” The grandmother, upon seeing this, began to celebrate in a loud voice, saying, “Didn’t I tell you? They left! It works every time!” Not quite. The family that was there first could have complained. They could have gone to management. Or, they could be the owners of the noodles!

    So the grandmother was not only teaching her grandchildren that bullying is cool, she was also saying that it always works. She was affirming in no uncertain terms that the world is to the strongest and you can always bet that the ones less familiar with the game will back away. She was shouting to her grandchildren that intimidation is better than communication and worse of all, she was training them to ridicule those who had been unjustly treated, as if they were to be faulted for breaking under pressure.

    I submit to you that this Grandmother was laying the groundwork for the making of violent people. Worse yet: her behavior is the garden where many criminal minds were planted. She ought to have her head examined and I would be willing to scream that in her ears.

    So here is my final question: did T. J. Lang ever have a grandmother or an adult-figure who behaved like that in his dark past? I am willing to bet he did! Sadly.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
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