By: Laura McCutchen
We waited almost 2 months to greet our newborn granddaughter Maddie. Three years ago, we waited just as long to meet her big sister. As grandparent set #4, we have learned patience. Maddie looks nothing like her sister Lily, who helps as she can and moves on to her own interests.
The weekend flew by as we spent the bulk of our time with Lily, who had her growing pains but is learning to share her treasured parents. Roy and I took her on her first trip to the zoo, discoveringing live baboons and giraffes. But even more, the zoo’s train captured her imagination the instant she heard it. After riding different trains with us each time we visit, Lily knew she could rely on us to go where she wanted. She was willing to wait in line for nearly an hour before finally boarding. Lily’s patience paid off; the kangaroos and emus put on an extra show for her by napping on the train tracks, ignoring the conductor’s pleas.
Times have changed since I was a 3-year-old girl. Bringing about those changes has been a conscious part of my focused energy. When my mother was born, her mother couldn’t vote. Today, no one would dream of telling Lily that trains are for boys. That may be true here in the U.S. but is not the case in other parts of the world. For my birthday, my daughter-in-law gave me a book by a Nigerian author with 15 suggestions on how to raise a feminist daughter. Is it no surprise that humanity advances into new territory, tries to regress to its old comfort zone, then discovers that the only viable path is in the mystery that lies ahead.
Today’s meditation by Kahlil Gibran is from 1923; in The Prophet he writes “On Children.”
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
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.
Prayer: God, give me new ears to hear the birds sing louder than news reports. Give me new eyes to watch the snow intensify the brilliant colors around me. Give me a new heart to joyfully pursue unknown paths with You.