On Being Born

Dear Baby Messner,

Today you will be born. Born! You will leave the inner sanctum of wombdom and enter this beautiful broken world that the rest of us have come to call home. That is a very brave thing for you to do, even if you do not realize it. Even if this is merely an instinctive reaction to running out of room and finding that you are unable to build yourself an addition. Even if you have reached a point where you feel birth is your only option.

I am excited to meet you. It seems that all of Kansas City is excited, perhaps even more than they were for yesterday’s World Cup match (which I am told was very exciting). It was wise of you to wait for today to make your grand appearance. It gave me a chance to see your parents one last time before you joined the outer world and an opportunity to take part in their eager waiting. Besides, there was no need to share such a special day with soccer players. No need to come any sooner than when you felt ready.

I am afraid, Baby Messner, that you will never really be ready for the world. At 27 years old, I find that often I am still not ready for it. The world is surprising and wild and vast. It is alluring and exotic and miraculous and diverse. Its inhabitants are capable of great innovation and extreme acts of selflessness. But the world can also be dark and dangerous. Its creatures can turn selfish and prideful, causing heartache and pain even to those they have come to love most. That is why it is very important that we do not enter or go through the world alone. And you, Little One, are already in good company.

I don’t know if you realize this, but you are the manifestation of a very special kind of love. Not only have you been born to parents who are absolutely in awe of every inch of you, but who are deeply committed to loving one another. Whose relationship has an incredible, often palpable gestalt to it. You will see and notice this even before you have words to describe it. Sometimes it will feel like they are ganging up against you, but really they are just loving you together, as two members of a unified team, which is not as common as we might hope it would be in our world.

Not only have you been born into this love, but into the love that surrounds your parents and their family, a family that you are now a part of. You are a lucky little guy, Baby Messner.

In the two hours since your father posted “It’s go time” on Facebook, the post has already received 65 “likes.” At 8 am. On a Tuesday morning. By the time you are old enough to read this, Facebook may not even exist and so none of this will seem relevant, but your parents can fill you in. Basically, it means that you are loved. Specifically, proactively, and by association.

There may come a day, Baby Messner, when you do not feel very loved. When the celebrity of being new has lost some of its shininess and the busyness of everyday life has called your father to the garden and your mother to the kitchen, the kiln, the spinning wheel, or wherever it is that she is making something beautiful. Do not think you are alone. Know that you are loved, that you are held in the hearts of men and women you may not yet remember. People who live as close as next door and as far as California, Arizona, Florida, and New Zealand. People who have not even met you in person. That’s pretty incredible.

And even on the days when your actual and adopted aunts, uncles, grandparents and other assorted relatives seem disconnected or distant, you will forever be loved by the God who breathed life into your very being. A God who has always known you and who you have always known, though you have not always had the words to express it. You will hear many things about this God, some of which you may believe and some of which you may question, but the most important of which you will experience for yourself. That, Baby Messner, is the secret to really seeing the beauty of the world even in spite of its brokenness, to look for the God who is made manifest in trees and trust and mountains and mathematics and peace and planets and people and pottery, and especially in love.

Welcome to the world, Little One. You are going to have one incredible adventure!

PS I cannot wait to learn your name. It will be awesome!
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