This Sunday is going to be a special day for our family. Our sweet three-month-old baby boy, the sixth member of our family, is getting a special blessing and having his name added to the records of our church. Most of our extended family will be there for the occasion.
This blessing is special because it comes from God, whom we call our Heavenly Father. My husband, our baby’s earthly father, will voice the words of this blessing. As he is tuned into Heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit, the words to say will come into his mind. In these blessings, babies are typically blessed with health, wisdom, loving relationships, spiritual qualities, and more. I’m really looking forward to our baby receiving this gift from his loving fathers.
Our baby (whom we’ve nicknamed “Wally” to protect his identity online) has been an absolute joy to have in our family. My other children constantly fawn over him to the extent that I’m afraid they might smother him! Wally has brought such an innocence, sweetness and purity with him. He is yet untainted by the darkness of the world.
We believe that babies can still recollect their previous existence with their Father in Heaven, and that if they could speak, they would be able to communicate some pretty wondrous things. The knowledge of these things must be hidden from us during this mortal life so that we may develop faith and other spiritual qualities which allow our characters to become more and more like that of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We believe that this process of growth, along with forming and strengthening family ties, is the reason we came to this Earth.
My favorite poem ever is William Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.” The complete poem is hundreds of lines long (and well worth the read), but these few lines, the most well-known in the poem, perfectly capture my beliefs about babies and our life before birth:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
When we see these babies, in their nakedness and helplessness, it may be easy to assume that they have forgotten everything about where they existed previously. And yet…there’s something they bring with them–God’s love and purity. I can picture the imagery of the clouds of His glory trailing behind these babies as they come into our arms and dispersing gradually as the child grows outside of His presence.
The poem continues through the life of a growing nameless Boy, who recollects at times that light which he was surrounded by at birth. The Imagination is that light of God working through our minds in our childhood, which then morphs into the exalted Reason of the adult mind. Man is whole and complete when he is able to bring reason and the imagination into harmony with each other.
Holding sweet baby Wally is often a spiritual experience for me as I reflect on how recently he was in the very presence of God. Before we will be able to feel comfortable in our Heavenly Father’s presence someday, we need to return to this innocent and pure state. Many adults think that childhood is something to “grow out of.” While there are “child-ish” things we need to leave behind, there are so many “child-like” qualities that we need to develop and embrace. I love this scripture from the Book of Mormon which outlines these qualities:
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. -Mosiah 3:19
I feel humbled and honored as a mother to be in the presence of these exalted little ones. While it is my duty to teach them a great many things, they teach me things that are even more important. They exemplify unconditional love. If I don’t relearn how to love this way, as I did as a child, it won’t matter what else I accomplish in this life. It truly is the smallest, weakest, and simplest things through which God manifests that which is grandest and most glorious.