It was 8 years ago when I began my role as minister of pastoral & spiritual care at Grace Bible Church. And, it was 8 years ago when my first grandboy, Julian, was born. I am the same age in my role at GBC as Julian is in his life. I wonder sometimes if I’ve gained as much wisdom in my 8 years as he has in his.

Julian’s parents divorced when he was just 2 years old. He has 2 wonderful, attentive parents and now also has equal qualities in a step-mom and step-dad and extended grandparents, uncles & aunties. His family is large and loving. In conversation with him over Christmas we discussed some of the family gatherings he was enjoying. I commented, again, to him about how blessed he is to have such a big loving family.
He didn’t skip a beat in responding, “You know Grammy. I really think that everyone in the world is one big family, its’ just that most people don’t realize it. But when you meet someone new and get to know them you eventually realize that this person could be part of your family too”.

Wow! I was silenced in my awe of this young sage. The next day at a family gathering I shared this story with an out-of-town relative who was in town for Christmas. Her eyes welled with tears and she said, “He gets it. He gets it.”

Yup, he sure does. And I’m the fortunate “Grammy” who is blessed to be on the receiving end of hearing his wise musings. His generous embracing posture reminds me of the importance of truly seeing people for who they are. It reflects the sentiment of Anthony de Mello’s words:

“It is a sobering thought that the finest act of Love you can perform is not an act of service, but an act of contemplation – of seeing. When you serve people you help, support, comfort, alleviate pain. When you SEE them in their inner beauty and goodness you transform and create.”

I am grateful for all that Julian teaches me, and grateful that he is the oldest of my now 4 grandboys! He is already adored and admired by his cousin Odin and I anticipate he will have the same influence on his wee brother René and wee cousin Oliver. Much more learning ahead for this Grammy!

Wilma Wiens is Minister of Pastoral & Spiritual Care at Grace Bible Church, 366 Oakwood Ave