Several weeks of planning had turned into several days of reflection. For several weeks, it had been frantic: invitations were mailed, food was prepared, rooms were cleaned, and excitement rose. The mother and father had picked out the gown for their daughter's baby dedication. They were looking forward to their extended family being at church with them and then gathering around the table with them afterwards.
Several weeks were spent making sure every detail had been planned to perfection. Then the day came, and it was such a meaningful experience. Their family gathered alongside their family of faith, and everyone offered blessings and made their commitments to caring for their child as she grew up. The parents were overwhelmed, more than they had anticipated.
After several weeks of planning, the parents spent several days reflecting. Having dedicated their child to God, they started to feel the weight of their responsibility. They realized the love they had for their daughter was matched only by the depth of their responsibility, along with the limitations of their foresight. They could not predict what they would face in the years to come.
In those days of reflection, they prayed for their daughter, as parents often do. They prayed . . . like taking in air to breath. It is the type of prayer that happens all the time and everywhere, as the hopes we have for our children rise inside of us. They are our hopes for safety, faith, wisdom, friendship, companionship, and community.
A few days after the dedication, the mother sat down to write "thank you" notes to the people who had traveled so far and who had helped so much. She sat down to write a good friend, who had agreed to be her daughter's godmother. As she wrote the note, she thought about all of the letters and prayers that her friend would send her daughter in the years to come.
The mother wrote to her friend, "In these days after the dedication, I am searching for how to teach my daughter about the love of God, and to love the Lord. My family taught me many things, but we did not talk enough about the most important things outside of the church. I want our home, though, to include those conversations, but I do not want them to be contrived. As I figure all of this out, I do so with the confidence of knowing that I have someone else praying for her too. Thank you for being that person."
Inside of us are the blessings we want to give to those we love. They are our highest hopes of everything that is good for their lives. With our clay feet, or rather, our clay tongues, we can struggle to offer such blessings and to articulate them well. We find great comfort in the friends and loved ones around us that help us shoulder our responsibility and who help us articulate those blessings. When are children are grown, we can return to them to say "thank you" again, for the journey included them each and every step along the way.