How Do You See God in Your Child?

By: Suzy Bai

When I sat down to write about Graham [for his confirmation at Christ Church Cranbrook], the phrase that God sent into my mind was “Surprised by Joy.” ‘Surprised by Joy’ is the title of a poem by William Wordsworth that I haven’t read for so long that I’d forgotten what it is about. So I reread it. I won’t read it to you now – it’s short and beautiful, but the language is dense and hard to grasp in a single pass. In summary, it is a poem about the sudden joy of remembering God’s love amid great loss.

I think it came to mind because, of all the people in my life, Graham is my greatest source of delight and joy and humor. I’ve had a lot of loss and some struggles, and Graham knows the value of a well-timed hug.

Here are the ways I see Jesus in Graham: He has a wry sensibility and a wicked, irreverent sense of humor. Graham has been challenging rules his entire life. I always knew the school principal a little better than I wanted to. When he was little, he didn’t like organized activities. He wasn’t nice to all the kids all the time. He had a low tolerance for things he deemed foolish. He wasn’t impressed by authority figures until they actually did something to impress him. He wasn’t easy to guide, but he was a lot of fun to play hookie with.

And now, despite all the times he left me aggravated or disappointed, or confounded or worried by all these traits, here he is, all of a sudden – astounding me. Graham isn’t automatically impressed by people, but he is an excellent judge of character. He assesses his friends, his family, his teachers with insight. He doesn’t have a million casual friends, he nurtures a few good ones. He doesn’t like organized activities, but he loves to spend his afternoons fishing with his friends.

I see God in Graham’s growing appreciation for music and literature. I see God in Graham’s problem-solving. I see God putting together the next generation of kids who are going to grow up and face this messy, corrupt, unjust, flawed and beautiful planet.

And they are going to change it for the better.

Surprised by joy—impatient as the Wind
I turned to share the transport—Oh! with whom
But Thee, long buried in the silent Tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?
Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind—
But how could I forget thee?—Through what power,
Even for the least division of an hour,
Have I been so beguiled as to be blind
To my most grievous loss!—That thought’s return
Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore,
Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,
Knowing my heart’s best treasure was no more;
That neither present time, nor years unborn
Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.

– William Wordsworth, ‘Suprised by Joy’

Join the Conversation


  1. This was just what I needed to read today. I see God in this post. I, too, see joy and God in my son. Thank you for reminding me.
    A long-time CCC parishioner moved to NC

  2. Dearest Suzy,
    I love the way you “see God in your child”! A poet you are, Suzy. One can feel it, one can feel your spirituality and your love of God. Wordsworth is one of my favorite poets, and he is wonderful. It is fitting that you relate to his poem for your writing is exquisite, too, and a joy to take in. The beauty you so lovingly convey and the depth of this child of God, your son, is full of wonder and joy. It uplifts us, wanting to read it again and again—this loving ode to Graham —and your love of God.
    Thank you!

  3. Suzy – watching you and Graham at Confirmation was my JOY! Thank you for sharing 🥰

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