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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

A Thousand Generations

Maisy & Jo Jo –
Maisy & Jo Jo –

We forgot to sing the song at Maisy’s birthday party last weekend. I realized later, when I heard it on my car radio this week. Daddy was supposed to sing The Blessing to the two new two-year-olds, celebrating together. Even though he’d said he was over that song, already sung it too many times. But not me, I guess. I’m not over it. Hearing it on the radio this week, turning it up loud, singing along—until the bridge—and then I couldn’t sing at all, for the lump in my throat and the tears coming down.

May His favor be upon you And a thousand generations And your family and your children And their children, and their children…

And no. I’m not tired of it now or ever. He is for you, He is for you, He is for you, He is for you…

Who wouldn’t want THIS ringing in their ears, and in their thoughts, for a thousand generations?

The first time I heard the song Grant was singing it online, early days of the coronavirus. The threat of the pandemic was still scary real, baby Nash just a few days old, and HE IS FOR YOU, and your children, and your children… And no, this Nana is not tired of the song.

I was driving from Costco to Uncle Brian’s, dropping off food for Jimmy, who’d called earlier in the week to say, “Mom, I’m starving!” Just before I’d turned on the radio I’d been chuckling out loud, thinking about those chocolate-filled Panda cookies I’d last minute added to my cart. Thinking about the last time I’d been shopping with Jimmy, and he’d spotted them and hinted. It’d be a fun surprise for him, returning after a long hard day of laying sod, digging holes for sprinklers, and I’m alone in my car, grinning ear-to-ear, thinking about my boy, and how much I crazy love him.

May His favor be upon you…and your family and your children…

All week I’ve been thinking about my family, and their children, and their children, heart swelling time and again with so much love.

The old people sure do like to talk about doom and gloom; these days of COVID and rioting, giving them plenty to nay-say about. And I wonder if this Nana is just a bit too much ostrich, wanting to bury her head in the sand. (Which turns out to be a myth, by the way. The thing about the ostrich.) And of course, I’ll be the first to admit, I’d rather not think about the world falling apart while Nash and Maisy are in it. But I’ll admit this, too. Lately. I don’t know when I’ve ever felt closer to Jesus, and more aware of His favor. For my family, and my children.

Luke took his LSAT on Monday. He’s had all kinds of quarantine-time to study, plus he’s without a doubt, the family genius. So he’s bound to do well. Hoping, as he is, to get into a prestigious law school, someplace where there’s work for Ali. We talked to him on speaker-phone, earlier this week—his dad and me, driving back from the lake. We’d been gabbing for a while, when finally I brought up the thing I’ve been noodling on the past couple of weeks. Ever since the murder, and riots, and maybe this white mom’s been seeing the world a different color. And not so much doom, as wholeness and healing. Those Hebrew letters spelling out my word—SHALOM—hanging there around my neck, gift from this son and his wife, and I’m reminding Luke, riding shotgun in the truck—it was some sort of prophetic vision. The tall boy, world-changing, leading others. And I see him now, a lawyer, fighting for justice, just like Jesus.

In the morning, in the evening In your coming, and your going In your weeping, and rejoicing He is for you, He is for you

I’ve been thinking, too, about something that happened a long time ago, when the boys were young. We were at one of the science museums; I can’t remember now if it was Chicago, where we visited once, or here in St. Paul, where we had a family membership for several years when the boys were students at the Montessori school. Either way, I’m remembering this thing that happened with Grant, who was middle school maybe, or early high school. This exhibit was mostly stories with pictures, which was why it surprised me, Grant being more hands-on than reading. But he’d stopped for this one. A story about a teenaged kid in an African village, and somehow this boy found out about electricity, wind-powered. And I can’t remember the whole thing, except this kid wouldn’t give up until he’d figured it out, and he did it. Brought power, and lit up his village. It was a powerful story, but the thing that sticks with me, is how I’d glanced over at Grant, and I’d caught him crying.

May His presence go before you And behind you, and beside you

So I’m driving from Costco to Brian’s when this song comes on, and I turn it up loud, and I sing until I cry. Because He is for you, and He is for me, for a thousand generations, and my children, and your children, and OUR children. ALL of us, everywhere, His children.

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