Dear Potato,

Dear Potato,

In just another couple of months, you are going to go through a huge change. The last 7 months you have been growing, perfectly forming in warmth and water, practicing breathing to prepare for air, snuggling into the safest place ever. When you squeeze out of that little passage, there will be light – lots of it, crisp and sharp noises, cold and hunger. Lots of surprising things will be there to greet you.

But, you will be wrapped in a nice warm blanket and placed on your mama’s chest. Your dad will be there, practically worshiping you. It will be very different, but I can assure you that your parents will be full of love and patience, trying to figure out how to make you the happiest little potato ever. And – we will be so happy to see your sweet face, too!

The world is a great place to live. It is full of things that will ignite your imagination. Your mom asked me to share a little bit about what inspired and continues to inspire me to be active in my faith. She is thinking seriously about what matters to her that she hopes will matter to you some day. You are one lucky little spud!

You are coming into a world with more options than anyone who came before you, so it may be hard sometimes to figure out what you want and value and love. But, keep at it. The love of your parents and family will be a haven for you, just like your mama’s womb is now.  And, I have some really good news for you. During your life, you will know the love of something even more awesome and powerful than your mom and dad as you go through your life, though you may not recognize it at first.

One day very soon you will get lost in the light dancing across the ceiling and wonder what it is, how it got there, maybe even what it means. Some other day you will taste the end of a banana peel – and you may even like it! Another day you will cry when you flush your first “goldy” down the toilet, wondering about him! Eventually, you will be sitting in the sand at the beach making castles and forts and trying to dissuade the water from washing everything away when you will notice orange and red against blue in the first sunset your really truly feel. You will wonder how all this beauty and sadness is possible.

It is possible because you are a much-loved child. Not only by your mom and dad, but by the one who put all of this beauty together. These experiences of life are here to show you a little of the “best Good,” which is God. Just acknowledging this invites us to choose our better selves.

Here’s the thing. The world and every human in our world is good and has potential to overcome huge obstacles and weaknesses and mistakes. But sometimes we need a little help. We need a compass — we need our true north — something that will not change with every new whim. That is love. Love first came to us through the creator of all of these wondrous things! It came to you through the love of your parents. It’s the beginning of all good things; the way to all good things; and the fulfillment of all good things.

We all have some major meanness to overcome, but love is stronger if you open yourself to it. And when we come together to go through life, we get to experience and give love in a bigger way. We were all made to go through life together – the good parts and the difficult. People sometimes really miss that. Life together is what helps give us meaning.

All along the way, you will have choices. Choices to be hopeful or cynical. Choices to be gracious and inclusive or defensive and exclusive. I think you may find if you choose good, good will choose you. If you invest yourself in things that matter in the longer run of life, those things will teach and form you in ways you could hardly have imagined. It’s that wonder thing again.

One other thing: don’t get caught up in doing things the way everyone else does them. People who commit to make themselves and their world better, which is what we all can do, sometimes think they should BE Ghandi or the next President or MLK, Jr. or Jesus. That is not what you have been given. You have YOU to offer. The best you! Listen to the voices, and honor their lives, and choose wisely who you follow — and then, be YOU!

If I think about what keeps me going in my life of faith, it is that I keep wonder alive. I try to be open to surprises and meaning and even some kind of “woo woo” stuff sometimes. And I remember how grateful I am to be alive. And I don’t try to live a meaningful life all on my own.

Always keep your wonder alive, Potato. Your imagination and your choices are what ground you in doing things that matter. Remember yourself loved loved loved. We can’t wait to meet you!

Your loving family of faith awaits you!

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3 Responses to Dear Potato,

  1. Jette Shears says:

    – and here I thought you were going to write about gardening…. just goes to show you, writers and their artistic impulses bless the socks off of us regular folks!

  2. Alik Widge says:

    Just printed this off to put in the little spud’s baby book. Thank you, Shannon, it’s beautiful, and says much about how we also feel about faith.

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