Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy 60th Birthday, Uncle Patrick!

"Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children" (Proverbs 17:6).

Last Sunday, after a hectic weekend of ministry (preparing for and conducting a wedding on Saturday and then preaching both services on Sunday), I was glad to settle down in the evening at Uncle Patrick Chisanga’s 60th birthday party. The event was held at his home and we just happened to be among the small band of people who were chosen to attend it. Below are some highlights from my camera!

Patrick Chisanga Junior receiving instructions while Uncle Patrick listens
Uncle Patrick (as he is affectionately known in the wider family sphere) is married to my mom’s younger sister, Aunt Pettie. However, with all the older siblings gone, they now function as “father” and “mother” to me. Whenever I have issues that need the wisdom of age and experience, I often make a beeline to their home or their office (yes, the singular is deliberate. They work in the same block of offices on their business premises). I always return home wiser with every visit I make.

The small circle of invitees for the birthday party--no more than 30 people
Uncle Patrick is a traveller extraordinaire! So, I always count myself fortunate when I need him and find that he is in the country (listen to who’s talking!). Since I often also love to visit “Chongwe”, we have often found ourselves meeting in very strange places. We now have a rendezvous at the Johannesburg’s O R Tambo airport where we often spend time together.

The blowing of the candles (limited to 6, one for every 10 years on earth)
We have also found that we have a common love for the kind of gadgets that make life easier to manage—smart phones, laptops, etc. As you may well imagine, although I often lead the way to start with, it is not long before I find that he is gone half way around the block while I am catching my financial breath. As for the iPad, I did not even try to join the race!

I thought of spicing this special 60th birthday blog post with a few comments from his grandchildren who are presently at home (and came along to the event with Felistas and me), since “grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged”. So, here they are!

The cutting of the cake with Uncle Patrick's sister-in-law, Aunt Lucy
Mwaba, my late sister’s second born daughter: “It is very inspiring to have a grandpa like you, very ambitious. We will definitely follow in your footsteps. You and granny Pettie are great role models. We are grateful to God for both of you. Hope you enjoyed your birthday gathering with your family and friends. Happy birthday Grandpa Patrick and many more returns!”

Pinje, my late sister’s first born daughter: “Happy 60th birthday grandpa Patrick. Hope your birthday was a time of happiness and cheer; that it brought you joy and laughter with friends and family. May the Lord continue to bless you and add many more years of peace and love to you!”

The music section that kept us entertained with every type of music
Mwansa, our second born son: “In a family that is not short of role models, Grandpa Patrick has always stood out among the top for me for all he has achieved and the way he is with us. Most of the time I can only stand back and watch in amazement of what he has achieved and it is a life that I hope to emulate. He has always been around for us and always knows what each of us is doing and though it is rare that he gets to hear these words from us, we love you and appreciate you. Happy Birthday, Grandpa!”

Uncle Patrick giving us the "birthday boy's" speech for the evening
Mwindula, our first born son: “I have always been inspired by Grandpa Patrick’s sense of taste. His home is like a lovely museum and there is a lot of attention to detail. I always feel like taking a tour when I’m there. It has shown me that just because I’m African, it doesn’t mean I cannot take interest in making my home beautiful. It is good to have such an example.”

I'm not sure I would have received permission to include this one!
POSTSCRIPT: Well, Uncle Patrick, you have heard for yourself what your grandchildren are saying. Mine is to say that one day we will stop meeting at our favourite rendezvous in RSA, because of the reality of death. And I am sure, at 60, your ranks have thinned enough for you to know that this is real. Let us make sure that we book a better rendezvous in heaven. To do so, we must both ensure that we have repented towards God and put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). I’ll look out for you there!

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