God is gracious. I use this greeting for you because this is the meaning of your grandson’s Hebrew name: HANS. His name is more of my choice. I love its simplicity, its monosyllabic clarity. No second name, no nickname. There is only the possibility of mantric utility quite close to “Om”. Then, there’s this Swiss theologian whose analytical mind and ecumenical spirit endears me but not the Catholic Magisterium: Hans Kung. Now, everyday, I try to catch like manna every gracious moment he brings.
As days roll by, a sense of gratitude for the time I spend with Hans energizes me – time that money can’t buy. Being with Hans in the most ordinary ways of changing diapers or waking up at midnight or tugging him for a 30-minute walk after his morning bath and before I take off for work – such simple ways of spending time with him are forms of self-investment. There could be no real presence as attentive presence per se – seeing the sparkle in his eyes, holding his fragile fingers, caressing his wavy hairs, listening to his need for conversation. The time I spend with him, despite the tantrum, fatigue, and endless cries – what a treasure to behold.
Now, I feel almost totally forgiven for being your belligerent son. I also sense how time transports us into those stages in life where we can transcend our past sins and shortcomings, your sins and shortcomings as a father, my sins and shortcomings as your son. Time is healing us especially with the coming of Hans. Isn’t life a desert of wonder despite its wounding, hostile vastness? That’s what I think. Happy Father’s Day to you.
Your loving, forgiving son,