His infinite goodness

Who made us? God made us. 

Why did God make us? God made us to show forth his goodness and to share with us his everlasting happiness in heaven. 

The Baltimore Catechism lesson was drummed into me as a kid and comes back like an old-fashioned love song playing on the radio. Like a lot of things I learned when I was a kid, I find shades of meaning now that I never guessed at when Yogi Berra was catching for the Yankees. 

The spouse and I had spent most of a recent Friday on the road again. There was a time, if you can trust another old song, when people traveled over the river and through the woods to see the grandparents. 

As any contemporary grandparent knows, we are now the travelers rather than the travelees. 

We arrived at the hospital and went to the front desk to ask the location of the maternity ward. What foolishness — there is no longer any such thing.  

They do, however, have a birthing center. We were given a map with little footsteps on it that directed us to where the birthing was centered. 

I got misplaced and ended up in the women’s health wing. I was shown the door without any helpful directions and I discovered that, similar to buying a television, shopping for a phone or checking in at the airport, I no longer knew how to “do” hospitals. I am a stranger in a strange land. 

A couple of rights, a couple of lefts, a couple of ups and a couple of downs managed to get us where we were meant to be. Our twin grandsons — now on the shady side of 5 — ran up to greet us. 

“Mom had a baby,” they announced. “It’s another boy.” 

Liam had been absolutely certain in the months prior that the sibling-in-waiting (whose gender Mom and Dad refused to learn) was a girl.  

When I asked him about that, he answered that he actually knew it was a boy. “I was keeping it a secret,” he explained. 

When we entered the room, there was my daughter, looking like she could go for a couple of turns in Roller Derby. A tiny little thing, she’s tough enough to raise three boys without a break for the next 20 years, give or take. 

“You look great,” I said, as I gave her a hug. “Not so bad yourself,” she lied in return, and I stood there beaming away. Sure, I’m a proud grandpa. But I’m also a very proud dad. 

“Want to meet Jonah, your new grandson?” she asked. 

“That’s a whale of an idea!” I answered. I’d been saving that since we learned his name. 

“Well, then, turn around.” And there he was, right behind me in a little bassinet. The babies stay with the moms in the room now. As I said, a stranger in a strange land. 

What can I say? If you have been blessed to be a grandparent, you know what that first look is like. 

The past, the present and the future come together for that moment, and the faithful departed are there to peek over your shoulder. 

Later that day they actually threw my daughter and new grandson out of the hospital. No slackers allowed in contemporary parenthood, or infancy. 

A storm blew through that evening and the lights went out. Jonah’s mother explained that it was the gift of a story that he would need all to his own as the little brother of twins. It would prove the day was special. 

God made us to show forth his goodness. I had always focused on the everlasting happiness part. But God also created us to show that infinite goodness. 

“God looked at everything he made, and he found it very good” (Gn 1: 31). 

Welcome, Jonah. It is going to be a whale of a life. 

Robert P. Lockwood writes from Pennsylvania.