Standing there in the dimly lit hallway that leads to the maternity department, I watched as my son-in-law came through the door to announce the birth of my new grandson. Grandson number two had made his appearance. Brody Michael Kirchenbauer was born on July 9, 2013.
As it was when my own children were born, the reality and truth of the great news he just delivered caused a small piece of “me” to fall off from the man I am. The wonderful desire to become my grandson’s teacher, protector, provider and friend, suddenly overtakes any desire that I may have had for myself.
I am reminded once again that I’m not here for myself.
But it is different for me than it is for my daughter and for my son-in-law. They have the responsibility to raise him and while I don’t have that responsibility I still feel a sense of purpose and a responsibility to do what I can to help my grandsons reach their dreams and goals.
As this “small piece” fell away from me, a much larger piece had just fallen off of my son-in-law. I look into his eyes. His eyes have changed. If you didn’t look closely it would have been easy to miss. It is something that happens when the weight and responsibilities of a father of a new-born son and a budding toddler come crashing down upon his shoulders, he suddenly seemed far less concerned about his own future and desires. His eyes tell the story as personal goals suddenly seem less important.
It has happened since the beginning of time. The moment when you first hold that child in your hands for the first time, the bulk of your attention and hopes are now focused on someone else and not on yourself. The joy of receiving a child into your life gives you something outside of yourself to hope for – someone to dream harder for than you dreamed for yourself. There is no way to truly understand until that moment and your heart desires change.
I’ve thought about my journey with my own children. And I can’t help but think back to another me I used to be all those years ago. I was single with no kids. I saw all the new movies and every concert that came to town. I played music at all hours without interference from the volume police. I traveled. I slept in. I had plenty of time with my friends, and a little more “me” money in my pocket.
I didn’t know it at the time but something was missing in my life.
I began to understand it in new ways the day my son was born. He was a gift to me… a key that unlocked perspective and wisdom I desperately needed if I was ever to become who I was meant to be. In fact, I believe it was downloaded into me the instant he wrapped his little hand around my finger. Five little words came to my mind that had never been truer, and would change my life forever.
I’m not here for myself.
Do parents have a corner on this market? Do they get some greater opportunity at fulfillment than the rest of the world? Absolutely not! A child is not required. But for some of us, parenthood will lead us to one of the most important lessons we’ll ever learn.
I’m not here to attain or accomplish. I’m not here to build a name. I’m not here to rise to the top of my field. I’m not here for what I can earn or have. I’m not here for myself.
This same resolution was seen in the eyes of my son-in-law as he delivered the great news of Brody’s birth as it was when Indiana our firstborn grandchild was born.
I understand and appreciate the love we have for a child where we will lose ourselves, our dreams and desires for the hope that is found in having our children and grandchildren find theirs.
We find our purpose by laying down our self-focused hearts, minds and ambitions to offer the world what we have to give. Hopefully, you and I will accomplish amazing things in our time. But in the end, most of it won’t hold the significance we think it might. We lose ourselves to find ourselves in our children. Our purpose and fulfillment are directly tied to how we can make the life of our children and grandchildren better than ours. Ultimately our legacy will not be found in what we do but in what we leave for those who come behind us.
May I never forget that I’m not here for myself.
Welcome to the world Brody… your world will be filled with love from the Lee’s, the Sumner’s and the Kirchenbauer’s.