After Elijah was born Ian and I were talked and talked about what to do about a dedication. We belong to a rather large church and baby dedications are done in a less personal way. So, we knew we wanted to do something different.
I have been told many times by my father the story of our personal dedications. My father took my siblings and I out under and particular tree that he prayed under often and it was there that he prayed over us and personally dedicated us to the Lord, one by one after we were born. I always thought that was so beautiful and Ian and I wanted to do something similar with our boys.
I have also always loved the biblical tradition of the blessing. Before someone passed away, they would take each of their children and grandchildren and bestow a particular blessing on them. It was in this spirit that we decided to dedicate, baptize and bless our children.
A few months after Joaquin's first birthday Ian and I decided it was time to formally dedicate, bless and baptise him. This past Sunday afternoon there was a beautiful, cloudless sky over the San Gabriel River. The sun was scorching, but we expected no less since Joaquin's middle name is Sol! We took the boys in their diapers into the shallow water where there is a limestone passing that is easy to cross and performed our small but sacred ceremony.
Ian and I both laid our hands on Joaquin and voiced out loud our individual gratitude for him, dedicating him back into God's hands as His child, and we let the Holy Spirit lead our words as we gave our individual blessings of hope for his future. Then Ian took him a bit further out and we baptised him with water to represent a clean, renewal of life. It seemed like such an appropriate symbol for children, so pure and clean and honest.
It was so incredibly special to us and we are so grateful that our little Joaquin Sol chose Ian an I as his parents. In the words of the great poet Kahlil Gibran:
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.
We love you, our little sunshine!