On Sunday, I had the honor of being with my congregation during a child dedication. Now,why would such a thing makes me sad, more than anything? It turns out that this particular family also had godparents included in the ceremony actually that’s not a requirement in my congregation but it’s awfully nice to see adults so interested in the spiritual welfare of a child that they agree to become sort of surrogate parents.
It often makes me sad to be there and see these events unfold. But it does bring back memories for me, and I marvel at the simple effectiveness of the words spoken and the actions taken, on a child that probably barely understands what the adults are up to now. All of this internal drama occures becuase I myself was once a godmother to an adorable, loving child, as you can see, and was privy to her spiritual welfare as she grew and learned and questioned the way of the world.
But, unfortunately, things fell apart as the baby and I changed over the years. My charge went her own way, I mine.
Things further deteriorated as time went by, despite too fee face-to-face meetings. As they say, when one door closes another opens, and I was ready at all times to step through and resume my responsibilities. But, rejection is hard whether it’s from a friend of colleague or in my case the little girl that I wished I could have seen more as she grew up. This privilege was denied me perhaps through her own close family dynamics and whatever else was going on while the poor child as she tried to deal with educating herself and then getting a job.
Things further went downhill, when she moved away from her family, and had a child of her own. Barely a word came back to the family, and it was easy, oh so easy, to forget she ever existed, yet a yearning was always there for a reunion and ongoing relationship.
Then the worst thing that can, happened. This cute little happy and friendly child now freely insulted, castigated and eagerly rejected not only her family, but her family values. She declared herself independent, and got her way. She is raising a child amidst a new, chosen group who act as family, and totally ignoring her responsibilities to her biological roots, you might say.
Her crowning achievement was not to bear a baby of her own, but to forget to honor her grandfather who loved her, and to forget to contact his wife, leaving her grandmother wondering what she did wrong.
This is what the family did wrong in my godchild’s opinion. They accepted her for who and what she was; they tried to contact and maintain contact in order to see her child now and then; they listened to her rant and rave and explain her world view.
And, eventually, they gave up and let her be. I can’t help but think this dreary outcome is not a good one, but it is what it is, and needs to be acknowledged if not corrected.
If I had to do it over would I do it differently? Probably not. People in their working years tend to close down other responsibilities unless they make a real effort to be the person they are today. I am sure this is what happens in our case and my little godchild who is no longer my godchild let alone either of us have embraced religion we were involved at the time, have gone our separate ways.
It all comes down to you can’t predict and then force a relationship that probably wasn’t there in the first place.