We live, not by things, but by the meanings of things. It is needful to transmit the passwords from generation to generation. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Poem: Generation to Generation)
The song "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin has always touched my heart. Indeed, Chapin is a good story-teller, and in this song he captures the impact of time in the parent-child relationship. Each verse captures a different moment in time, from the birth of a child, through his formative years, longing for more time with his dad. The last verse captures a grown son, struggling to find time to spend with the now retired father. I've related to different verses as I've aged and find myself in the middle of it these days.
The time we have with our children can be fleeting, even though it does not always feel that way. Changing diapers never felt fleeting. The affliction of a screaming child never feels fleeting. Yet, as they grow they spend more time on their own and with others. As schedules fill, sometimes we have reminded our children that we like spending time with them too! Setting time to 'just be' as a family is important. It creates time and space to connect in ways we cannot if we are constantly on the go.
Time in worship can help us connect too. The music may serve to draw our hearts together, praying together builds mutual understanding, and hearing the stories of our scriptures carries forward our story. The phrase 'generation to generation' in the Eucharistic prayer was particularly poignant to me this week as I stood at the altar with my dad. All the more so as my daughter processed with us, serving at the same altar this week. Indeed, this is how the love of God is perpetuated, from generation to generation.