Words of Hope: Reborn

My oldest daughter Natalya turned twenty-five Sunday. Dad was there for her birth. Shann, my Mom, Dad, and other friends waited in the comfortable birthing room and out in the lobby, waiting for my labor pains to come. I remember watching snowflakes falling outside. Shann and I had a song we sang to Natalya before she was born. It was a rewording to an old Maranatha song we listened to on 8-track growing up. The song starts– We sing we love you to Natalya. I held her when she was born, but she kept crying hard. Shann placed his massive hand over her tiny body and started to sing her song. She immediately stopped crying and turned her head toward his voice. Dad was also present during her rebirth as we helped baptize Natalya together. Each family member held the face of the other and spoke a blessing to Natalya. I have a photo of my Dad holding Natalya’s face as she held his. She is weeping, and his face is full of joy. Both her birth and rebirth hold love at its core–song, symbol, water, passage, family, community, blessing, and promise. My Dad understood the importance of ritual and blessing. He knew how to create a meaningful home where moments are not wasted by a TV or a rush or an ordinary reception of rote response. Dad said every story has the preparation, experience, and retelling. Natalya’s birth became meaningful from the months of preparation as we sang to her every night. Natalya’s rebirth became meaningful from the months of preparation as we prepared blessings, as we talked about baptism and as we prepared for the day. I am thankful as Natalya enters this year of life without her beloved Papa in the physical sense; she has sacred memories with him and his prayer of blessing from birth to rebirth.

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of unperishable through the living and enduring word of God.” – I Peter 1:23