An Atheist Godparent?!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This past Sunday, I became godmother to two gorgeous twins. My best friends babies. How does one become a godparent when one is an ardent atheist? It sure is a challenge to one's morals and values. To be sitting in a church, and asked (in a group, thankfully) do I believe In God? And being required, as a godparent, to answer 'yes.' To be asked flat out directly if I believe that Gods son Jesus was nailed to a cross and crucified for our sins. Terrified someone will be watching to make sure my lips utter 'yes' but I can't bring myself to do it. The question I am asked about helping raise the godchild to be a good person, and to be there for them - even spiritually - I can answer with a booming YES! The others, I simply skip answering and hope no one notices. Awkward. I don't want to lie, but nor do I wish to decline the honor of being a godparent to some children that mean a hell of a lot to me. It's sort of hard.

I struggled seeing a 3 year old baptised last Sunday, he wasn't happy about it. Fair call. The babies sleep through it and I cope with that far better... The congregation laughed at the 3 year olds screams. I didn't really like that either. A baptism is by definition, is the rite of immersion in water, as admission into the Christian church. So, basically, an initiation. The certificate I receive states that my role as godparent is to pray for my god child regularly. To set my god child an example in Christian living. To help them to grow in the Christian faith, and to help them look forward to Confirmation (a further rite to full communion with the Church). Can I fulfill these duties? I'm not sure that I can.

Thankfully, the friends that have asked me to be a godparent, not only to their first child, but also to their second, third and fourth children, are not strictly religious themselves. They recognise the rite, but they see my role as a little different to the Church. They see me as Honorary Auntie. Which I think, is how I see my role as well. My friend said to me: "We're so lucky to have such a wonderful person in our boys life. Someone we know will always love them unconditionally, care for them and be there for them no matter what. A safe place they can always turn to. You have no idea how comforting it is to know that."

And I love being there for them! Not only did I take the babies gifts on Sunday for their baptism, but my older two as well. Because I adore them. I want to see them happy. I want to be someone they know and love. Someone they know is there for them, always. A child can never have too many of those people in their life. I wrote a letter to the parents of my godchildren, telling them how much it means to me to be chosen for the role. I'll copy it below.

Dear M & A,

I just wanted to write and thank you for today. I was sitting there, holding the delicious sleeping S, and I thought about what a privilege it was. Not only to be his godmother, but to have him named after me, and to have watched him come into the world. What a special bond I have with each of your 4 boys. I thought about how it seemed only a blink of an eye ago that I watched J be baptised in that church. Each time I see him, his face lights up and he shouts: "Kell!!" with such genuine love and excitement. It makes me melt every single time. I have loved being a part of his life, and of L's and now another two entrusted to form a relationship with. How special that is. How lucky I am.

I not only have my own 2 gorgeous kids, but I have 4 amazing boys, my "nephews" that I simply adore. I have tears! I just wanted to thank you both for your friendship. There are no 2 people in the world I care so much about and who are so valuable to me as you two are. Thank you for making me such a special part of your family. A family of so much love and sweetness. Mischief and laughter. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I hope that your day was as special and wonderful as you hoped, and that you and the boys felt loved and cherished by wonderful people.

Love, Kell xx

No mention of religion, or my role as a spiritual guide. Just love. Surely that is the better gift for these children? For any child? I hope that their parents think so. I hope that the boys think so. I hope I do them all justice and reward their faith in me. I certainly intend to give it my all.


Anonymous said...

It's more than we could have ever hoped for xx

Lib said...

Aww how lovely.....and for the record 2 twins would be four :P Spoken as a twin myself!! ;)

Diane said...

no need for religion. As long as you truly love them, that is the most important part. A lot of organized religions do not teach the unconditional love they claim to teach. These kids are very lucky to have you!!!

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