About eight months ago, my son was born. He is beautiful. Named for my Wife’s father; a great friend to all who know him. He is named also for my mother, a name from an old elegant line of her family. When he was born, I was wrapped in happiness and joy for his arrival. I swaddled him and held him. Pure joy and wonder and awe was mine.
After a week or two at home, when baby and parent become familiar with one another, anxiety set in. I laid awake nights hearing the calm steady breathing of his mother and he, sleeping while they may. But I….. I thought hard on the reality that my second born brought with him. Worry and doubt were mine. Fear and anxiety of the future, his future and the future of his 5 year old sister. I laid awake in fear for the world he would inherit, of the generation that I made for him. What kind of a world am I making for my children?
I laid awake in fear many dark nights thinking on a fix what I saw breaking. “I have to fix everything”, I thought. “I need to get more money, get a bigger house, a bigger car, end all wars, clean the air, clean the waters, heal the Earth, grow food, plant trees and save a college fund for him. And I will have to do all of this as soon as possible.”
After several days, my way of coping with the stress fired off and I got a fever and became weak. Then, one night I watched Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson. He helped me with an understanding of the Cosmos that made my angst and fear melt like a an ice cube in the arctic. A vision was mine, an understanding of how small and brief our entire existence is, how random and precious, a blink in Cosmic time.
Thank You Neil deGrasse Tyson for helping me.
Advent has begun. We are now in a time of preparation. I think about the people living at the time of the first Christmas. When the Divine touched down, when the Absolute broke into human existence. During the time of occupation, of oppression, tyranny, fear and hatred and greed. There are obvious parallels concerns in the nativity story. What kind of a world did they see for their children? What inheritance did fathers worry about then? Fathers then and father now share those fears and doubts, I suspect.
And what then came but unprovoked Generosity, and relentless Mercy, a sacrifice for the lowest of lows and the highest of highs.
The lesson for this preparation: Be not afraid.
There is Existence beyond my understanding.
There is Love more profound than my reckoning.
Our world and our time belong as a beautiful, unique, unequaled shining blossom in a boundless eternal field of flowers. We can never fathom out complete being. Never in life can I grasp the infinite nature if the Cosmos. And I don’t really have to try.
I only have to live my own nature. That is the healing I can bring to the world. That is the inheritance I can give my son, the gift of my full self and my love. Always my love.
A prayer 600 years old by St. Ignatius of Loyola:
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness
give us the sense of Your presence
Your love, and Your strength
Help us to have perfect trust
in your protecting love
and strengthening power
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to you,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.