The Grandfatherly Presence

Dorian Black

By Dorian Black

So, strictly speaking, I am not a grandfather. But with numerous nephews and nieces and their children and grands and greats, plus dearly beloved friends of all ages, it does appear I am called to such a role.

Of course, no one wants to be preached at. Or to be told we did it better way back when! Certainly I never accepted such imposition. What I do recall enjoying in the presence of my elders was simply to sit with them and savor their conversation or their silence. Here, to my youthful mind, was a beautiful being, clothed in perhaps decrepit flesh, who had lived bravely. Courage poured out of them, strengthening the sinews of my heart.

Now, in my 80th year, can I be that bringer of courage to others? Not if what I have to offer lies only in the past. The old ones I remember with joy flooding my heart even now were those who had no time to stop living.

Like my Aunt Esther, a woman of elegant beauty in the early photographs, whom I knew in her 70s, living alone in a one-room shack her dead husband had constructed of plywood and insulated with old newspapers to keep out the Manitoba wind. Once a week in summer she would walk ten miles to the nearest streetcar and ride into Winnipeg for her pernicious-anemia liver shot at the hospital. She would then visit her older sisters and catch the last streetcar out of town for the ten-mile moonlit walk home. In my early teens I enjoyed riding my bike out along the Red River, always ending with a quiet visit in Aunt Esther’s garden.

Well, times are different now. But I can assure myself that a grandfatherly presence is never out of date.

Dorian Black has been a member of the Sunrise Ranch community for almost 50 years, offering spiritual leadership in many areas of teaching, writing and publication. Dorian also shares his wisdom and love by contributing readings and blogs to the Sunrise Ranch online presence.


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