We dream about these children.
We long for them.
When we are six years old we decide how many of them we’d like to have,
and that number sticks in the mind.
Ask anyone, they can tell you,
how many children they always hoped for.
When our children come to us,
by birth or adoption,
it stops us in our tracks, wakes us up,
leaves us ever changed.
Something inside us is irrevocably torn away —
we are more aware, more raw,
more in tune with the beauty and fragility of life,
so much so that, very commonly,
the baby is not the only one who cries all the time.
Children are miraculous.
They are us, but they are not us —
poorly-equipped little foreigners,
not quite grasping the culture they’ve been thrown into,
making their way the best they can,
longing to be wanted and loved,
losing themselves in tears,
finding their place in smiles.
The early years are so much work,
it is easy to forget about the soul,
about the spirit,
about the child’s unique connection to,
and calling from,
Confirmation is such a blessing.
It makes us, the parents, stop for a minute,
decide what is important,
and do it.
We always feel so responsible
for everything that happens to our children,
for everything they do.
If only I had done this, said this, made time for that,
my child would not be struggling so.
If only I had noticed this, responded to this, emphasized that,
my child would be okay.
If only I could keep them safe.
O God, there is nothing I wouldn’t do,
I could keep them safe.
But, when the moment of confirmation comes,
your child kneels before the cross,
the pastor lays their hands on your child’s head,
calls them by name,
. . . may the Holy Spirit work within you, that being born through water and the Spirit, you may be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. Amen.
— in the intensity of the moment, you may not notice this, but –-
for a breath of a second,
the earth will stand still,
creation will perk up its ears,
the veil will part,
and, regardless of whether your child is thinking holy thoughts
or examining the pastor’s shoes,
God will say,