Sunday, October 23, 2005


“The child gives birth to the parents”
-Chinese Proverb

Seven years ago I underwent one of the most significant transformations in my life.
Transfixed by the impossibly cerulean and infinitely-trusting eyes of my first-born son, I suffered the most painful heartbreak of my life.

Let me explain...

Years of carefully cultivated disregard had hardened me, forming a callus of defense against emotional vulnerability. I felt I had been hurt too often - too deeply. As a result, I had deliberately developed the professional detachment of a coroner, and that was the way I preferred it to be. Marriage and a near-death experience had chipped away at the hard crust of my heart, but in many ways it was still held in thrall by my desire to remain safely dispassionate.

That is, until the day I found myself awkwardly cradling my newborn son in unfamiliar arms.

He was all need, all trust, all love and hope. As his tiny, perfect fingers, miniature in comparison to the one I offered, wrapped me in his first embrace, I was struck by the absolute nature of his need. He reached out for comfort and safety, never doubting that I was there to provide for him.

There was a welling up of peculiar fierceness within me. Helpless against the tide that surged through me, I began to weep as at first fissures formed, then burst through the hardness of my heart. Too long dormant, the pain of sudden liberation was both sweet and insufferable, and a deep wound was opened in me that will never heal. Like soil that must be tilled to be planted, I was broken open to be fertile ground for fatherhood, and my son was forever planted in my heart. I was filled with such an overwhelming love in that moment, that my ability to remain dispassionate was forever diminished. To this day, I still ache with the memory of those first pangs of unfettered love.

It was also in that moment, I had a moment of clarity about the parallels with our eternal relationship with our Heavenly Father and his desire to fellowship with His children. I understood then the depth of desire for intimacy and fellowship of a father with his son.

My oldest son is sweet-natured, affectionate and ever-thirsty for knowledge. He wants to know, and more importantly, genuinely considers the answer I give. As a result, I find myself frequently challenged to develop a better understanding of things, if only to know better how to explain them to him. It is a manifestation of my love for him that I strive to answer him fully, but within the limits of what he can comprehend.

He is my beloved first-born.
Breaker and builder of my heart.
The eyes through which I can see the world anew.

Those tiny fingers that first wrapped around my own have grown much in the last seven years, but they have never let go.

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