My wife was at home in early labor when I took my then 3 year old daughter to a nearby playground. This was a sacred day. It’s one of those rare times when you know that before something major actually happens. We all felt the energy in the air that surrounds the blessed moments of labor and birth. I was equal parts nervous and excited. My wife was over the moon because it seemed she wouldn’t have to be induced again. And my daughter, though a bit less aware of what was actually happening, was present to the moment in ways I often find very difficult to experience myself.
She knew that something amazing was happening. She knew that mommy was going to have a baby. She knew that she was about to become a big sister. These words all came together to form a great cloud of mystery that lay before her. But rather than allowing the uncertainty to draw her out of herself, which so often happens to me, she became even more aware of her body, the air, the sun, the fun of playing at the playground with daddy.
To be honest, I very nearly missed the gift my daughter gave me that day. I was unaware of how beautifully present she was, until she was on the swing with her eyes closed and her mouth wide open. She seemed almost angelic as she got lost in the experience.
That’s when she said, “Daddy, I feel God in my mouth.”
The ancient Celtic theologian, Pelagius, taught that when we look into the face of a newborn child, we are looking into the face of God freshly born among us. Fr. Richard Rohr hints at this teaching through the cute story of a little boy who asks for a minute alone with his baby brother. His parents listened in as he asked, “Quick, tell me who made you. Where’d you come from? I’m beginning to forget.”
To these men, and to myself as I witness the beautifully simple spirituality of my daughter, it is clear that children have not had nearly as much time as we have to forget who they most deeply are. They live with such a natural sense of wonder at the very nature of existence. In their world, everything is divine. This makes them some of the best spiritual teachers capable of drawing us back into an awareness of our original sacredness.
It is my prayer that we begin to remember that which the children around us have not yet forgotten. Perhaps then we too can so easily recognize the presence of God in the wind.
Ben Edwards is a member of Celtic Way's Board of Directors. Read more about him here.