We discover we are pregnant, and in an instant, our life and the whole world has changed. From that day forward we learn a certain lesson in letting go that nothing can teach us quite like being a mother, or quite the same way our children do. We think of a myriad ways to control the expanding of our figure, the seeking of birthing wisdom and knowledge, the progression of our pregnancy, and even convincing ourselves we can choose the date on which our baby will be born. As soon as we do this, the ever dynamic, ever evolving, moving, never stagnant process of creation and life proves us wrong, and messes up all our best laid plans. Our pregnancy goes how it goes, babies come on their own time table, and birth follows the course it needs to follow to bring forth the fruit of our love in just the right way and time. All our worrying, planning, anxiety, desire for things to be different than they are, and attempts to control, end up being wasted effort which simply serve to cause us suffering, and inevitably we find that we are forced to realize the wisdom of surrender, allowing things to take their natural course, and letting go.
As Kahlil Gibran says, our children are not merely our children but they are life’s glorious longing to burst forth into being, as a spark into a vital flame. Though we have the honor of serving as the vessel through which they come, they are not ours to control, construct, or command. Our most loving stance would be to step aside, remaining as a stable bow from which they will spring forth, and allowing them, as an arrow of love, to take flight in their own way, along their own trajectory and path. Our mission, our quest, our gifted parenting adventure then, begins with taking the form of the solid, steadfast, devoted, and faithful tree, as a mighty oak, that our deeply beloved child, like an innocent, trusting, bird might fly home to.
Surrender is a lesson that our children will teach us a million times over, and one of the first lessons will be in allowing them to come when they are ready to be born. All our fretting and efforts to cause their birth to happen will only serve to rob us of the last final days we have to revel in a glorious depth of closeness and communion with our precious child. A communion and closeness that no one else in the world may ever know or share, and a depth of union that we will never experience with any other sentient being, ever again. Revel in that place, join with your baby and celebrate the blessing that right now, right here, in this precious and gifted moment, you are one being. Don’t squander this gift by feeling anxious for the future time to arrive when you will sever that cord, and become two individuals. Give your precious child the gift of being here now, fully sharing these last precious, united, mindful moments with him, instead of getting lost in anxiety and desire to be someplace else.
I can promise you, you will face a million more times when as a parent you will need to let go and allow life to go its way. And if you think this one is hard, just wait till as teenagers, you hand them the keys to a car, and watch them walk out the door to drive. Man, now THAT is really letting go!!!
Your children are not your children.
They are the 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.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.