Dear Jackson

by Andy Wood on July 14, 2011

in Life Currency, Love, Photos

Dear Jackson,

You entered our world today, July 14, 2011, the firstborn of a very excited and grateful Mom and Dad (weary, too, but who cares?). Every Daddy and Mommy are excited about the birth of a baby.  But I have never met a man more ready, more yearning, more longing to see his son than your father.  Just last night he told us on the phone, “I’m not worried – just anxious.”  Believe me, you were worth the wait.  To him.  To your Mommy.  To all of us.

Already, in the short time we have held you, watched your first bath and all the other things that go with saying hello to a newborn, you have filled our hearts.  I wonder if you’ll always like having your hair washed like you did that first time.  I wonder if, when you’re my age, you’ll have hair to wash, but we can talk about that later.

That was your Grammy who was doing all the galloping (yes, galloping) and hooting over you. Think of it as a sort of preamble ceremony to her really spoiling you (you’re gonna like that and LOVE her).

Your name has a rich heritage associated with it.  You are the first of a new generation in your Great-great Grandfather’s family to bear his name.  Your first and middle names go back a generation further.

You stand on the professional shoulders of men who were doctors, engineers, preachers and farmers, to name a few.  But the most important heritage you stand on is one that loves the Lord Jesus Christ and the world for which he died.  On both sides of your family you are the fruit of people who did more than talk about reaching the world – they actually did something about it.  So I guess it’s safe to say, you have “world changer” in your blood.

The world you were born into is a strange, disturbing, yet wonderful place.  A lot of moviegoers (including your dad, but he found something more interesting) are anxiously awaiting a movie that starts tomorrow about a wizard named Harry Potter.  Meanwhile, a bunch of political wizards in Washington are trying to figure out how to pay off some debt and yet borrow more money so they can buy people more Hogwarts or something.

This has been a hard year for a lot of people.  You live in a region that has had a months-long drought, while other places in the world have seen tsunamis, tornados, floods, and record heat.  Meanwhile, people in Iowa and New Hampshire are getting ready to tell us who the nominees should be for the next president.  No, it doesn’t make sense to me, either.

But whatever else you find this world to be, you will know it to be a place where you are loved.  Completely.  Joyfully.  Unconditionally.  And in spite of what anybody may want you believe, you never, never, never have to be afraid of the future.

You mother is one of the smartest, kindest, and most tenderhearted people you will ever know.  You will be wise to follow her example.  That is, until she’s playing cards or some board game with you.  Then Dude, you’re on your own and salvation is by works.

Your father is a man of many loves, and you’ll discover that soon enough.  There’s this thing called “baseball,” played in a place called Atlanta.  Football played in cathedral-like places all over the southeast and southwest, but mainly in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  And history.  Dear Lord, I hope you learn to love history as much as he does.  But most of all, from him you will learn of something called “friendship.”  Your father is the best, most loyal friend a person could have.  Just ask “Uncle” Geoffrey, who left on an overseas mission trip the day you were born.  But first, he just had to come by the hospital to see your dad and mom.  It was 4:00 in the morning.

There are cousins for you to get to know. You’re number 4 on your dad’s side of the family. Maybe now with three boys, among the three of you, y’all can catch up with The Princess (that’s Laura Kate – you’ll meet her soon enough).

In time you will learn of other things that make up your heritage – places in South and West Texas, Thailand.  And a farm in Alabama.  You will meet many people over the next little while.  You won’t remember their names, voices or faces for a while.  But they all will have one thing in common – they all will have been delighted beyond words to see you.

There are others you won’t get to meet until much later, including your great grandmother, whose birthday is a week from today.  But you are no less a part of her heritage than you are of mine.

The most important thing you will learn, whether it’s from the passion of your parents or the heritage of your family or the great church where you began to experience worship, is about the amazing grace and love of Jesus.  Of how you can never be separated from His love.  Of how now matter how greatly you fail, His grace is greater still.  My only prayer is that you see that love, passion, and grace lived out in me, your Grammy, your parents, and other family and friends in such a way that you are convinced He’s real.  And that following Him is worth a lifetime of service and devotion.

So welcome, little man… gracious gift of God.

Now let’s have some fun.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Paige Phillips July 15, 2011 at 11:27 am

I love your letters to your grandchildren. They are so precious and speak of such a great love that exists in the heart of a grandparent, a family and our God. I hope you have 15 more grandkids so I can read your letter to each one of them. LOL!

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