I don’t remember Grand-dad Hahlen well. Unfortunately he passed while I was still fairly young and memories of that time are vague and clouded. One clear memory is of Grand-dad sitting quietly in the midst of a large family gathering — his pipe cradled in his hand — watching the activity surrounding him. His kids, their spouses, all the grandkids, enjoying the day while he simply sat and observed.
I have similar memories of my father. During much of the time when my children were younger mom and dad lived in Tennessee, my brother and his family lived either in Louisville, KY, or Dallas, Tx. Our family called NE Ohio and/or Western PA our home.
When we all came to Tennessee for a holiday mom and dad’s small trailer became a crowded place, but a place filled with joy. In the midst of the myriad of activities — dad often sat with his paper or word search book, seemingly uninvolved and taking little notice.
Now that I have become the “patriarch” and have experienced those times in which the kids, spouses and grandkids are a swirl of activity around me — I also realize that Grand-dad and Dad were far from uninvolved. They were simply enjoying the presence of family.
If we are needed — we are quick to respond, but for the most part — we simply sit back and quietly enjoy.
I wonder if at times when we think God is not paying attention he is really just letting life in the family happen. The appearance may be of quiet disengagement – but the reality is something far different.