When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
anything about their future.
Ecclesiastes 6:14 (NIV)
We have a pretty lax view when it comes to bigoted grandparents. Almost everyone has a story. “I brought home a black boyfriend and” fill in the blank. “I told my grandma I was gay and” mild trauma ensued. These instances rarely inspire deep hurt – grandparents tend not to have much influence in our day-to-day lives so we end up laughing off their insanity.
Why do they get a free pass?
But their bigoted views are wrong…
True, but they were put in place a long time ago. They’re stuck.
So why not expect them to learn?
Because the older we get, the harder it becomes.
All of my grandparents were pretty benign; if they went to say something remotely off color, my parents managed to both project its arrival and then squash it. In middle school, fellow lunch-Bible-study-leader Briana and I struck up a short-lived romance. I went to her black church (oh yeah, she’s black), and she went to my exceedingly white church. We went to Chili’s and ate ribs with her dad. We spent the day in my backyard and jumped on the trampoline. Then, on the first day of seventh grade, I dumped her because… I don’t know, I was thirteen, and I COULDN’T HANDLE THE PRESSURE.
Anyway, my family loved her. Not that this was a surprise, Briana was an all-around amazing girl – devout, pretty, kind. We sat at dinner one Sunday night to discuss it – everyone was in agreement about her. Then my grandmother said, “But you would never marry her, right?” After lots of silencing coughs and nudges, she clarified, “No, no, not because of, no.” We all breathed a sigh of relief. Then, she continued, “The wedding would just be so complicated.” And what did we do? We just changed the subject and kept eating.
Ecclesiastes takes a turn away from flat lamenting in its final dozen sentences. Our Teacher spends the greater part of the book taking meaning away from a variety of human experiences – wisdom, joy, toil, and life itself. Now, he talks of children and the behavior of youth. Remember God when your young, he commands us as he rattles off a list of analogies, remember God before the sky grows dark, before trees blossom and doors close, before the days of youth disappear…
Why, oh Teacher, must young people remember God?
Because the older you get, the harder it becomes.