The amber glow of the setting sun stretches across the sky as my son and I step out onto the corridors. His tiny hand slips into mine, those perfect little fingers curling trustingly around my own. With our first steps, I feel the brush of his tiny fingernails against my skin. How many small discoveries has he made just today, hand-in-hand with his dad? For him, the world is an endless horizon of wonder yet to be explored.
I’m reminded of a treasured childhood memory that my own father recently shared with me. He described how he used to walk with his father, my grandfather, when he was just a young boy. Together they would set out on adventures, my father’s tiny hand clutching my grandfather’s weathered fingers. As they walked, my father would run his small fingers over my grandfather’s nails, tracing the contours and creases earned through years of hard work. For my father, those nails represented security and guidance. My grandfather’s hand was his anchor as he took his first steps into the vast world unfolding before him.
Decades later, as my grandfather took his final breaths, my father narrates that was overcome with the urge to once again feel those familiar fingernails. He reached for my grandfather’s hand and cradled it tenderly in his own. In that instant, he was transported back to his childhood when the world brimmed with promise and potential. Though it pained him beyond words to lose his father, my grandfather’s wisdom and empathy would persist through his son and future generations.
As I watch my young son experience each new sunset as a marvel, I’m filled with immense gratitude. One day, if I’m fortunate, he may walk with his own child in this same way, their tiny hand discovering the world while anchored securely in his. And one day, though my son will never meet him, a faint glimmer of my grandfather’s spark will glow within that child, lighting their way through new horizons, God willing.
For now, I give my son’s hand a gentle, knowing squeeze as the sun dips below the skyline. In his eyes, I see his grandfather’s spirit, that untarnished sense of awe and wonder. And in my heart, I offer up a quiet thank you – both for this present moment, and for all the future sunsets we have yet to witness together, again by the will of God. Each moment has a story and a memory to kindle. Never let a day pass without being in awe and grateful for whatever you’ve experienced on that day.