Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

The following is a letter that I wrote to my six-month old godson, in preparation for his baptism, yesterday. To all mothers, the world over, looking after the spiritual and physical well being of their children (but particularly my godson's Mom and my own mother)- Happy Mother's Day.

Dear Matthew*:

You probably don't remember the first time we met. You were less than 1-day old and, as a result, pretty exhausted. I had to suppress my eagerness to scoop you away from your wonderful parents at the hospital. Thankfully, your kind and intuitive Dad sensed my impatience and gingerly nestled you into my anxious arms. It was the day after Halloween, and you were, at once, the greatest treat imaginable and a trick of human emotion. How could I possibly love you this much already? What is this feeling of muffled peace absorbing me, like snow banks absorb the sound of city traffic?

It's been said that "We're not human beings having a spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a human experience," so I guess it makes sense that you seemed spiritual to me from the very beginning. It also makes sense that I'm going to officially become your godmother today . . . but that might have more to do with the fact that I let your Mom be a raving lunatic when you were in her belly, causing her to act like a raving lunatic.

As any godparent knows, the particulars of my job are well established. Dote on you with affection and toys; indulge you with sweets; overlook the mud on your shoes and crumbs on the floor; encourage finger-painting, drum-playing, and staying up past bedtime, at which point I'll, of course, return you to your Mom and Dad.

Yet, in more traditional terms, my duties also include the support and cultivation of your spiritual well being. Surely, the merits of finger-painting and mud-tracking as spiritual practices are well documented; however, I should probably offer you some actual insight, as we prepare for the formal festivities.

I apologize, in advance, for the water on your head and odd circumstance of having lots of people ogle at you while wearing a dress (albeit a fashionable one, knowing your Mom's impeccable taste). There's nothing I can do about this. Your best defense is to have a big breakfast and hope to feel drowsy enough that the rites of passage at church don't bug you much.

In terms of your spiritual development following your baptism, I have only a few recommendations. Learn. Listen. Love.

Learn about the world around you. Study many religions, but also study trees and clouds and birds. Read books because they enlighten and excite you.

Listen to others, particularly the people who love you (at least until you're a teenager), the sounds of nature that surround you, and, most importantly, learn to listen to silence. It's during these quiet moments that God will speak to you most clearly.

And, finally- love. There are lots of feeble definitions of what God is, but the one I like best is the following: God is love.

With love,
Your Godmother

*Name has been changed.


Anonymous said...

beautifully written, Omgal... Matthew is indeed a lucky little boy to have you as his spiritual mentor.

elena said...

rebecca! this is sooo beautiful...i started tearing up as soon as i saw that i was about to read a letter from you to sweet *matthew. mom and dad could not have picked a better godmother and spiritual guide for their little one. *matthew too could not have landed in more capable and loving hands, home, family and community...he is a lucky boy!