Lilly and Grandfather

Lilly looked up at the vast expanse above her head in wonder. Her wandering five year old mind never stopped taking in the world around her. So many questions, always. At her young age, she didn’t know much about the world—but she was always curious, always hoping to discover more.

“The way the world works is very strange,” her grandfather told her once. She was sitting on his lap, quietly taking in words, in his low, gentle voice. A voice that exuded tired determination. He had been in Vietnam and had seen more of humanity in a matter of years than most people wished to see in a lifetime; he was a Vietnam veteran who wondered every day how he had survived while his buddy, his best friend, was blown to pieces right next to him in the Vietnamese rainforest. Yet, despite that daily question, his aging mind was filled with those nuggets of wisdom he had picked up not just because he had survived, but because he had willed himself to live. He yearned to pass it on, to pass it on to the only granddaughter he had:

“Sometimes you will understand everything happening around you without question but, more often than not, it will all confuse you. It might even scare you. You will want an answer but you will not get one…and if you do, it may be too late. But, if that answer comes when you need it most—and sometimes they do—that’s when the world falls into place. That’s when the world starts to make sense, if only for a second. Those moments, my dear Lilly—those are the moments we live for. Those are the moments that make us tick, that keep us going.

“Wait for them. But, until then, never stop wondering. Never stop learning. And never stop trying to understand.”

— — — —

How does a five year old comprehend any of that?

How does anyone comprehend any of that?

Life is more than our circumstances. Life is as much action as reaction. We may never understand, but we can always live.

Lilly was too young to even begin to understand any of that…yet, she kept wondering. If anything, her grandfather’s words allowed her an opportunity to keep wondering.

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