Today is a sad day for me. And a happy day. My wife and I have two grandchildren, a brother and sister who live in Japan. They are 7 and almost 10 ½.

Jamie and Felicia have been with us for the past three weeks. This is a brief break before their school year begins. Next week Jamie begins 5th grade and Felicia will be a 1st grader in Japanese public schools.

It has been a fun and full three weeks. We have gone to the movies, a Braves game, rock climbing, to see the Harlem Globetrotters, the Atlanta History Center, and church. We have played mini-golf, bowling, ping pong (Jamie is real competition for me now), tennis, soccer, and several board games. There has been some shopping (not their favorite activity- except for the toy department at Target), working in the yard (they are really good help), and making crafts with Nana. Friends have brought their grandchildren to visit and play with Jamie and Felicia.

Today they are on their way back to their home in Tokyo. It is hard to put them on the plane for that long flight and to know that it will be months before we will see them again- except by webcam. I am always a little sad when they leave.

It is wonderful that we get to have the grandkids for a couple of extended visits each year. Our time together is a great gift and we are so grateful that their parents are willing to allow and encourage those visits. And thank God for non-stop airline flights that make this possible. As they head home today I realize that we are making memories and that makes me happy.

I would really like it if all my children and grandchildren lived close by. They don’t need to live next door but it would be nice if they were close enough that we could see each other often. But that is not the case and I am reconciled to that.

I have not arrived at the place of the Apostle Paul to be able to say that “I have learned to be content in whatever state I am in.” However I do understand that everything is not always going to be the way I want it to be and I have learned to accept that fact. I don’t have to be “satisfied” with things as they are but there are times when I need to recognize the reality that I need to live with. The best choice is to accept it and make the most of it.

Our family situation is just one of many examples that could be offered of circumstances that are different than what one would call ideal. Every day presents situations where reality is not the most desirable state. Nevertheless we must take life one day at a time and face every opportunity or obstacle as an occasion for good. We have the option to see the glass as half full or half empty. To focus on what we have or what we do not have.

The Serenity Prayer that has been adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step programs offers wise counsel to everyone.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Jamie Jenkins

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