I was up late talking with my 15-year-old son Chandler last night and I must say, I have fully graduated to the other side of the generation gap. I know I felt some of this with my adult children when they were Chandler’s age, but not like this. Perhaps they humored me. Chandler doesn’t have ability to placate in his character. He is who he is and speaks his mind, and that’s that.
Chandler has ideas about the world I haven’t heard since I was twenty. I’m recognizing these ideas now, yet from the other side. I’m seeing both the desirability and foolishness of some of them, and I would like to save him the pain of having to find out some things the hard way, but I can’t, because we are speaking two different languages.
Chandler’s mind works overtime, and he has figured out some ideas about the world that are simplistic, naive and idealistic. Sound familiar? I can remember thinking my parents were caught in the “system” and how we were going to be different.
I’m feeling the weight of the years I have on Chandler that gives me a wiser perspective but no way of communicating it. He thinks I am so firmly entrenched in the “system” that I can’t possibly understand how he is thinking. I am feeling the generation gap deeper than when I was on the other side of it. There’s no way that Chandler can fully understand me without living my life, and no way I can fully understand him except by living his life without the years I have on him. Both are impossible.
How do you represent the law, the system, or whatever else it has been called, and represent love and understanding at the same time? I feel a little like God might be giving me the counseling Jim Carrey got from Morgan Freeman, the God figure in the movie Bruce Almighty, when Carrey asked him, “How can you get people to love you if you can’t mess with their free will?” To which Freeman replied, “Well, welcome to my world.” I’m feeling God’s world right now, it’s just that I’m not God.
Something clicked when I wrote earlier: “no way I can fully understand him except by living his life without the years I have on him.” Is that not what God did for us when He became a human being? He emptied Himself of His right to be God and was born like us so He understands our human limitations. And because His memory is perfect, He knows what it’s like to be fifteen. I’ve forgotten a lot of that. He can be Chandler’s God and my God at the same time, and if there’s a chance of us understanding each other, it will come through Him. He is such an awesome, all-knowing, yet all-understanding God. He has empathy with the human race.
I don’t have any great conclusion to this except to hold on tight to God’s promises. How to be love and law at the same time? It’s been quite a ride so far; I can only guess where this is going.