My dear little one,
I thought I’d write you a letter because I saw something beautiful in your character today that I wanted to try to express to you. Though you won’t understand all of this at your age, you’re smarter than you know, and you will internalize a good bit of this even now. So let me begin:
Today, as we walked around the neighborhood, you ran ahead of me – pelting after your brother with your still-toddler-like gait as your wispy blonde curls trailed behind you. You were so full of joy as you ran and you squealed with an ecstasy – the kind known only to small children – as if you were privy to a secret us adults don’t know (or is it that we’ve forgotten?).
Whatever it was, darling, it was a moment out of time, for me: all at once I was transported back into those days when all you could do was coo up at me, and when I smiled at you, I wondered who you would become as you grew. I wondered who you would aspire to be like, and secretly hoped it would be me. Back then, I could only dimly imagine your personhood – like tracing the edges of your shadow on pavement. Today, the glass is not quite so dim; I see you more clearly, and I see a part of what you are being called into.
In that moment, my little daughter, I knew, as my bare feet followed you over the warm sidewalk, that your joy and your delight in life would be a crucial part of becoming who you are meant to be, and how important your joy is to the watching world… how it sparks something far greater than you know.
I have to admit, there is a part of me (full confession, here!) that wants to keep you to myself – like those moments when we’re standing in front of the mirror together, and you’re on your checkered stool beside me with my makeup brush in your hand – your eyes glittering with the delight of a “me too, Mama” moment, and I beg God to prolong it forever.
But no matter how much of me wants to battle the turn of time (I imagine myself hugging you close with one arm and wielding a sword with my other), I know that the world itself is in an ‘act of becoming’ and resisting that would defy something beautiful and holy. And I don’t want to do that.
You see dear one, it is my job to teach you that your story is a transformational one; that your squeals of ecstasy as you run after your brother down the sidewalk are actually part of something far more profound than you realize.
As I write this, you’re too young to understand this imagery, but I’ll use it anyway because I hope you read this again when you’re older:
Imagine a wedding cake beyond anything you’ve seen before – layers of sheer fantasy and delectability in fantastic proportion – and imagine how its beauty and its flavor would fill your senses in ways you’d never experienced. And then imagine that, before you were ever allowed to behold that cake, someone gave you a spoonful of its raspberry filling – a beautiful note of flavor and harmony that sung of a symphony of the feast that was to come. It’s like that: your young jubilation, exhibited to the watching world, is a foretaste of what we are all waiting for. You are vocalizing the promise of completion to the world that is waiting hungrily for its realization.
You see, as wonderful as this world is, it is a world in pain – its beloved has not yet come, and just as I labored in pain before you were enfolded my arms, this world we live in longs to embrace her Beloved, too. That anticipation is palpable, and painful. But joy like yours – those cries of sheer delight you so exuberantly emit into the listening world, teach the rest of us to anticipate what is coming; to watch for the sublimity that is beyond our wildest dreams.
What I want you to realize, through this letter, is that admitting joy into your life is crucial for living into your calling as a child of the God who saves. As a witness to His promises, you must reach out and defy the pain and fan those flames of joy – for God is a God who wants to be reunited with his beloved bride and has fulfilled his covenant with us, birthed at the inception of time.
I believe that when you allow those moments of transcendence into your life, you admit a beauty into the world so profound that the rest of us are given a spark of a vision into the glory that is to come – allowing the world to anticipate and believe in its sanctification – in its ‘becoming.’
So, my sweet daughter, as you grow, I charge you to be a part of the becoming – immerse yourself fully into the world and its labor pains, for those pains are not in vain.
Groom your eyes to see the gathering rainbows arching over and across and under one another. Promise, upon promise, upon promise is just above your head, my little one, look up: they’re staining the sky with refractions of radiant color.
I love you with all my heart and more. And Lord willing, even when you’re fifty and I’m hobbling around with a cane, I’ll still say to you, ‘be a part of the becoming, my little one.’ For it will still be your charge, and your privilege, and your future, like a thread trailing from an unseen tapestry in the sky. Follow it – behold it – and fix your eyes on its dim outline, for you are being woven into its story even now.
Be bold; be beautiful; be you, my darling, and be a part of the becoming.
Hugs and kisses galore,
The featured image is courtesy of Christina Brown and used with her kind permission for Cultivating and The Cultivating Project.
A founding member of The Cultivating Project, Christina has been fascinated by beauty her whole life. Color, texture, pattern, fragrance, melody, light – all of the boundless ways in which creation shines – ignites her imagination, compelling her to create. Even as a wee sprite, Christina was dedicated to wordsmithing and sketching her way through its marvels in an attempt to capture, at least partially, the imprint of the Creator within it. But writing and drawing are not her only creative endeavors; several years ago she took on the laborious (but rewarding) task of nurturing a garden in the dismal soils of the Rocky Mountain foothills, and has eagerly employed her spade (alongside her pen) as a tool to cultivate and curate the beauty around her.
She has two little gardeners-in-training who embody all these marvels and more in their merry little faces. She and her husband Brian are the founders of the Anselm Society based in Colorado Springs, whose mission and calling is a renaissance of the Christian Imagination. She serves as the Director of the Anselm Society Arts Guild and her creative work can be found at LiveBeautiful.today and on Instagram.
A Field Guide to Cultivating ~ Essentials to Cultivating a Whole Life, Rooted in Christ, and Flourishing in Fellowship
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