My family got larger this week. I have a new great-grand nephew, the third great-grand nephew to go with a great-grand niece. This new kid is the first grandchild for my oldest niece and I don't think her feet have touched the ground since his first cry.
The one thing I can say about Facebook is that it gets people in touch quickly, and within a couple hours of his birth, I could see the little tyke and his beaming parents. It reminded me of when his mom's own mother was born. She was a gorgeous baby who up to be a very lovely, fine woman. I hope this little guy also grows up to a handsome and fine young man.
With the addition of this new twig on the branch of the family, my great-niece now becomes a mother, and conveniently, celebrates her first Mother's Day tomorrow. I don't think her firstborn has gotten her presents yet, or even maybe a Mother's Day card, but I'm sure someone will step up and contribute flowers or a cake or something else to honor his mother in his name. It seems to be the tradition when one has a baby. Wish I could be there to see them, but I'm happy knowing that all went well, everyone is happy and healthy, and mostly over the moon over this new little bundle of joy that's joined our family.
My new great-grand nephew has a lot of life lessons to learn. He will have to learn to communicate, first by cries, then by babbles, and finally by words and sentences. He will have to learn to move himself from the squirms and waving of infant arms and legs to rolling over, crawling, and finally walking. Then Lord help the parents when he learns to run! He will need to learn to read and write, play nicely with others, trust his family to always be there for him, love them as much is they love him, and, I'm perfectly sure, he will be taught about the love of God and what it means in his life. With one grandfather a minister and his mother a preacher's kid, I would expect nothing less. But knowing the family, they will teach him this, whether in specific words or by example. That's the way most of us learn - by example. What we see in our families is what models us for our future lives. This little man has a lot to learn, but he has a lot of loving teachers to help him every step of the way.
Even when we are full-grown people, we are still on a path of learning, and we still depend on people to help us along the way. Whether it's a member of the family, a close friend, a mentor figure or a religious leader, or even sometimes a total stranger, we are still in the process of learning even though were further along on the path then the little man is today. We have walked the paths of learning so we can help others, from babies to seniors. We have learned to count on others to help us, most of all, to count on God.
God has been with us from our first breaths to our last ones (which we haven't quite gotten to yet, thank God). Even when we think we are too big to need God or anybody else, we usually find that that isn't the case at all. Our view of God may change as we get older, but God is thoroughly able to grow with us, to stand and watch us as we stumble along on our own and yet be there when we call out. We never outgrow God, and God will be there throughout the baby's life as well. He will know about God, and perhaps he will teach us a few things about God too. That's one of the things newborns and small children can do, even if they can only squirm, cry and sleep. And what a way to learn!
So this week I'll probably be thinking quite a lot about this new twig on the family tree and his extended family. It's a lovely change from the gloom and doom, the fear and the anxiety of everyday life. I will be praying that God will always be with him and those with whom he comes in contact. I'll be watching for pictures of him growing up, learning to do all the things humans do, and becoming a man after God's own heart.
So welcome to the world, little Abel. Have a long, happy, and blessed life. God bless.
And God bless us all.
Originally published at Speaking to the Soul on Episcopal Café on Saturday, May 13, 2017.