Nobody told me that you try to find God alongside your children.
I thought by the time they arrived, you basically had your relationship with the Divine figured out. That once the children came, it was all about gathering them and then guiding them to an already cleared place at God’s feet.
“Here babies, here is the place I’ve made soft with the pressure of my knees as I prayed. Here is the place I’ve made green with my tears as I wept. Here is the place where I have found sanctuary. And once I’ve helped you find this place, here is the place we’ll be whole together.”
I’ve got three daughters now and while I gather and guide, it’s through a wilderness in which I’ve carved out no clearings. Increasingly, it seems the work of my mortality is to teach them to let God gather them up, to let God guide them, to let God clear the spaces at their feet, to let God make hard things soft, to let God make withered things green. That maybe the only work any of us must do here is simply let God.
Loving our neighbor is letting God. Feeding the hungry is letting God. Welcoming the unwelcome is letting God. Seeking is letting God. Doubting is letting God. Holding a sorrow in one hand and a hope in the other is letting God. Sitting with discomfort is letting God. Opening our eyes is letting God. Not needing to know, know, know is letting God.
Sometimes letting God is a wound that bleeds until it seems you’ll be emptied. Only something Divine could fill the hollow places and keep you from being blown away. Sometimes letting God is the fullness of a thousand voices singing Alleluia. And as you sing out too, it occurs to you that if Heaven didn’t already exist, then surely this harmony - this one right now - would force it into three dimensional color.
We blessed Brontë yesterday. She joins us years after her sisters, years that were filled with more wilderness wandering and more letting God. Sometimes I feel like she’ll be shortchanged compared to her sisters - fewer years with us, so many memories she’ll never have. Other times I think it’s her sisters that have been dealt an unfair hand. Brontë came to parents made, if not more polished, then at least more understanding by the years that came before her. We’ve got more patience, less certainty.
When we blessed our first two daughters, we dressed them in long white gowns. Yesterday morning, we put Brontë in a dress that looked like everything I see for her - for each of my daughters - in mortality. It was simply cut. The print was colorful, bold, and messy. My hands still felt full of her now and her tomorrow as I gave Brontë to Riley, trusting him to give her our blessing. I can trust Riley and he can trust me.
He blessed her to lead, he blessed her to have wonder and curiosity, he blessed her with the patience to grapple in the gray areas, he blessed her with faith and intellectual discovery, he blessed her with an acute ability to feel the love of Heavenly Parents, he blessed her with a closeness to Christ, he blessed her to be opinionated, he blessed her to be steadfast in her philosophies and beliefs - especially those fortified by the Spirit, he blessed her to be a role model to the men and women she meets, he blessed her with the love of her parents and her sisters.
As he blessed her, I felt that mix of the bitter and the sweet, that feeling I can only call Joy. This little girl has come to an imperfect people and we are members of an imperfect church. But as Riley held her and laid our blessings upon her head, it occurred to me that Christ has not ever asked for perfection, He has only asked that we let Him perfect. That we let Him let God.
Yesterday, the congregation sang All Creatures of Our God and King.
All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing
As I bounced Brontë and sang along, I felt so filled with the hope and hurt of my fellow seekers, so ready to work alongside them and let God, that it seemed for just the briefest instant that I could sense the shapes and hues of heaven.