Dear St. Mark’s,
Several years ago, right before I had my son, I remember coming across Khalil Gibran’s poem called, “On Children.” The first several lines stopped me in my tracks because they communicated something so different than I had been taught about parenting: “Your
children are not your children. They are 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, for they have their own 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.”
Even then, despite being a new mom, and despite encountering such an idea for the first time, I knew his words to be true—that while I had given birth to my son, he did not belong to me. He belonged to God, and I had simply been chosen to raise him into adulthood in this lifetime. Another way to say this is, I was chosen to be a steward of this temporary gift.
Nothing in this world belongs to us. We do not even belong to this world. We get attached though. We get attached to our homes, friends, family members, belongings, children, so on and so forth. Part of this is a natural part of being human—to love and form attachments, which consequently leads to the other side of the coin, grief when we lose those attachments.
Underneath it all though, underneath the love and loss, we must
remember that we are only gliding through this world for a temporary amount of time, and asked to be good stewards of the gifts we have been given; not so that we can hoard and grab on for dear life. But so we can understand the true meaning of love—to hold all things loosely and with freedom.
I’ll further explore this idea with you on Sunday morning as the
gospel lectionary text is Luke 16:1-13.