Soulful Home for Parents & Families
What Does It Mean To Be A Family of Renewal?
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A few years ago, working as a hospital chaplain, I was visiting with a family who had just had a baby, the couple’s fifth. The father was sitting on the one, plastic couch in the room, holding his sleeping newborn swaddled in the white-with-pink-and-blue-stripes blanket known to all parents who birth in an American hospital these days. The dad’s sister was there, too, and as she looked at the calm and comfortable duo, she said to him, “Number five! Guess you got this whole daddy thing pretty well figured out by now!” To which he replied, exhausted but with great surety, “No, I’m a new daddy every time.”
What a beautiful perspective on parenthood! When we embrace renewal, we accept that what worked in the past may not work in the future, and we trade the confidence of experience and mastery for the release, excitement, and opportunity of beginner’s mind.
That kind of renewal is a gift to our kids and ourselves.
While renewal comes with a sense of excitement, it may also be hard to come by this month. The near future looms. We look ahead to a major election, and a back-to-school scenario that is far from ideal. We look around at the effects of a poorly handled pandemic response–joblessness, overwork, sickness, death, discord and strife. We look inward and worry: How much more can we take? Are we up to the task of turning our country around? Is renewal even possible?
When faced with feelings like this, it helps to remember that renewal is not a solo effort.
We’re not in this alone. So as you engage this packet this month, we hope you keep in mind that other UU families from all over the country are doing it, too. May this awareness of spiritual solidarity help renew your hope.
Finally, let me call special attention to this month’s “On the Porch” section. In it, we challenge the notion that renewal is always about work, something that we need to add to our to do list and devote a whole bunch of extra energy toward. In contrast, we introduce you to American poet Ross Gay, who reminds all of us that sometimes the most impactful renewal moments come in the form of those so-called “unproductive” times of “lollygagging.” There’s something powerful in remembering that renewal is just something we make happen but also something we have to sometimes let happen.
As we receive renewal this month, through doing and not doing, may we also find ways to share it.