It isn’t unusual for prospective parents to anticipate the arrival of a new baby with a kind of euphoric bliss, and then, within the first few weeks of the baby’s arrival, to find themselves hitting the wall of realization that parenting is really hard. Lack of sleep, perhaps lack of funds, or lack of time to get things done around the house – these can make parents wonder, “What have we gotten ourselves into?”
When my oldest daughter was expecting her first child, I knew I was going to have to do some hands-on grandparenting as unusual circumstances had positioned her as a single parent. Everything in me wanted to help my daughter and grandchild, but I also felt overwhelmed as I wondered how I would carry on my public practice of Christian Science healing while taking care of the baby all afternoon so my daughter could go to work.
One day as I prayed to be freed from concern about the potential burden this situation could bring, a Bible verse came to thought: “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). In that moment I caught a glimpse of the spiritual fact that nothing more could be added to what God is always doing. Since God is infinite – Father and Mother to all – God already includes all being and is caring for it.
This meant that I was not so much being asked to take on more responsibility. I was actually being asked to acknowledge more of God’s infinite ability to sustain every one of us. I needed to rest humbly in this acknowledgment and lean more on God – by expressing God’s love in selflessness and goodness. I also caught a glimpse of the fact that God, divine Love, knows each one of us as unique, precious, and spiritual individuals whom He perpetually cares for. My understanding of divine Love’s care for the baby enabled me to better express love to my family.
Finally, I realized that we are each necessary to God’s infinite being – to the completeness of His infinite expression. So not only was this child not an extra burden but a total blessing to me and to all of God’s creation.
Buoyed by this thought, I began knitting a sweater for the baby, and with each stitch I would feel a quiet, affirmative sense of welcoming and blessing him. I felt I was now running to meet this child with full assurance that God, Love, was and is the source of our care.
Then one day as I was knitting and praying, a passage from the “Christian Science Hymnal” assured me:
True, the heart grows rich in giving;
All its wealth is living grain;
Seeds which mildew in the garner,
Scattered, fill with gold the plain.
Is thy burden hard and heavy?
Do thy steps drag wearily?
Help to bear thy brother’s burden,
God will bear both it and thee." [Hymn 360, Elizabeth Charles, adapted]
This was a such a beautiful image to me. Though we carry our children or grandchildren in our arms, God is actually carrying us all. Giving of ourselves then is never a burden but a blessing to one another!
As I was contemplating the nature of God’s infinite care for all, the days and months before the baby’s arrival were sweet. The birth was safe and natural, and I can honestly say that, although I was called upon to do consistent “Grammy duty” over the next decade and a half, I was never tempted to think that this was anything but a blessing. In fact the delight I had in my grandson gave me inspiration for my other work, which in turn blessed many others.