My godmother was my father's sister, and she never really took an interest in us. She was simply a godmother on paper only.
However, I had the world's best godfather! He was my mother's brother.
He drove from Pennsylvania to Michigan in a snow storm for an "emergency" baptism. I was rather premature and barely weighed 5 pounds. Back in the day, there weren't all these fancy machines to keep babies alive. I got popped in an incubator for a couple of days and then was sent home. Since I was early, our priest was at the hospital awaiting my arrival! LOL! How honored can I be? Since it looked like I was stable, he simply gave me a blessing when I was born and said he would baptize when preparations were made.
So, my uncle drove through the snow storm in order to come and get me baptized as soon as possible, in case I wasn't going to make it.
I was baptized on day 3 of life, in my parents' house (not in church - due to snow storm). I have a photo of my godfather simply holding me on the palm of his hand. I think I never left his palm after that. He was always there. Whatever I needed.
Eventually he and my grandfather moved to Michigan to be near us, and when my father passed away, leaving my mother alone with two young kids (both his godchildren), without a word, he took us in, and became the best "father" a kid could ever ask for.
He made sure we went to church every Sunday. He taught us to ride our bikes, drive a car, and stand on our own two feet. He taught us about limits, morals and ethics. He taught us, by being himself. He was a great Orthodox Christian. My whole family was/is. By their example they have taught us. No matter how dirty the job, menial the labor, long the hours, he would do whatever work he could to get by, and he would never complain, but, would thank God for what we did have...no matter how tired he was, no matter how down he was, no matter if there was a snow storm....we were all going to church.
...and we didn't just "attend" services, no.....we had to "do" stuff. We had to do whatever we could for the Church, not just ourselves. I knew that before they came to the US they went to Brazil, and my family took an active role in building an Orthodox Church. My grandfather did the carpentry, and whittled the Royal Gates, my uncle (godfather) painted/wrote the icons, my mother laid the floor....every night after work, all three would be found in church, working.
I can't remember a time in my life that my godfather wasn't active in the church. When I was young he was the Starosta, and we were all his little helpers. We got to church first to open the doors, and light the candles. We stood behind the candle stand to sell the candles. We were the first ones there and the last to leave, making sure everything was in order and locked up tight.
When he got older he became the Altar Starosta (we ran out of altar boys...dry spell), so, he was always there....a "senior" altar boy. He kept the Altar clean, in order, things ordered in time,....always serving at the Altar of God. He never took money for any of it, even when offered, because he believed it an honor to serve God in any capacity.
He was in church, serving in the Altar, up until the day he had a stroke. In the hospital he asked for an icon to stand near him. He had Holy Unction, Holy Confession and Communion. He suffered for six weeks. Once again, he asked for the Holy Mysteries, and died that evening.
However, even when in pain, lying there humiliated and not being able to move or care for himself, he still thought of others....giving instructions to me (I was the only who was able to understand his very garbled post-stroke speech) to take some of his money and buy my sister's kids back to school supplies....and to always be patient with each other and forgive each other when we quarreled, and to always go to church, etc.
With his life he was the best example. Kids learn by imitating what they see. If only I could imitate what I saw. He was always generous, helpful to everyone, industrious, never gave up, and was always content with whatever God sent his way.
Leaving the cemetery, after his funeral, I encountered a homeless man standing on the street corner with a sign. I had my uncle's wallet with me, and I thought it only fitting that his last earthly dollar would go where he would have himself put it....in to the outstretched, grimy hand of the homeless man. I pulled over and gave the man the money and told him it was from my "just" buried uncle and the man cried....and said he would pray for him.
When my uncle was alive, all I did was watch him and help him.
Since his passing, I have tried to imitate what he taught me and am no longer satisfied to just come to church and pray...and then just leave. I must be active. I have no other choice. ...and because I have tried to do what he did, I have found my life to be getting fuller and more joyful with each passing moment. There's is no greater reward then the happiness you feel, when you've helped someone. Without his, and my mother's wonderful examples, training and encouragement, I would not be where I am today, nor whom I am today.
It's been 8 years since he passed away....and we pray for him every day....as we know he prays for us. I imagine he has found some new way to serve God in "that" world, because I know he wouldn't just be idle.
He once gave me an prayer book. It has an inscription in it from his buddy, who gifted the book to him. On the next page, he inscribed it to me - "for prayerful remembrance, from your godfather." I hold that prayer book in my hands every evening as we read our evening prayers....and remember him.
I still miss him so much.
I hope your godparent/sponsor will have as profound an affect on you, as mine had, and still has, on me.