The Bows and the Arrows

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
– Kahlil Gilbran, The Prophet

One by one the Grands stood up and told a favorite story about Pops. All of them good speakers, confident in the acceptance of the audience, and also in themselves. And this would have been his favorite part of the night. For he knew, as the generation between Pops and the Grands has learned, that the Grands are the arrows flying into the future. And we are but the bows that send them there.

Admittedly its funny to think of yourself as a bow when you’re still flying along as an arrow towards your own future landing place. To be an arrow is to be actively reinventing yourself, using whatever momentum you have to muster. Sometimes you get a favorable wind to carry you along, sometimes the wind isn’t your friend, but you’re flying nonetheless. And with only a general idea of your direction, the rest just a mystery unfolding in front of you.

When you stack four generations in a room to celebrate the life of one powerful bow you see a lot of arrows flying in different directions, but every one of them flying. To celebrate is what he wanted most of all, and he’d have beamed at the arrows he helped launch. And now that his arrow has landed, I suppose the rest of us have to provide the favorable wind for each other.

I didn’t think of bows and arrows as each grandchild spoke, I thought about that grandchild and the incredible spirit they each have. They’re each still rising on their own trajectory, but with so much more momentum than I had at their respective ages. And that’s what we all want; the next generation to build off our own momentum and be an even more powerful force in the universe than we can be ourselves. Flying onward, seeding the future with the powerful spirit of those that sent them there. Watch them soar.

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