Friday, September 27, 2013

What Child Is This?

Welcome to the world, Jack.

I am humbled--no, baffled, really--by the creation of a human being. It is so unreal. You hold this squirming, squishy thing and it squints its eyes at you and you look into them in bewilderment and can only ask questions:  "Who are you, anyway? Where did you come from? And what will you become?" And then you realize that this is a person, not just a combination of you and your wife, but a being completely separate and distinct from either of you. He is an individual with his own personality, his own agency, his own spirit, his own future.

Elder Holland says, 
"There are those special moments in your lives when the other, more formal ordinances of the gospel--the sacraments, if you will--allow you to feel the grace and grandeur of God's power...But I know of nothing so earth-shatteringly powerful and yet so universally and unstintingly given to us as the God-given create a human body, that wonder of all wonders, a genetically and spiritually unique being never seen before in the history of the world and never to be duplicated again in all the ages of eternity--a child, your child--with eyes and ears and fingers and toes and a future of unspeakable grandeur." (Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments, BYU Address January 1988)
This concept of birth as a sacrament--a union with God to participate with Him in his work and glory, the creation and eternal progress of his children--baffles me more than just a little.

There is so much I still do not understand about the Plan of Life, but my new son has taught me, again, of my little pilgrimage down from heaven to this imperfect world, and reminds me of the grace that can transform imperfection into strength. Jack's birth also reminds me of the purpose of family in the Plan of Life--that "marriage between a man and a woman is essential to His eternal plan" (The Family:  A Proclamation to the World) and that I have an overwhelming responsibility to this child that I have helped bring into the world.

To be a father--that is one of the most surprising and miraculous gifts I have ever been given. I only hope I am up to the task. I hope that I am able to pass on the things I have learned, and spare him the mistakes I have made. I hope that I can point him to his Savior, so that he can experience not just a birth, but a rebirth, a real and spiritual conversion; that I can give him the chance of a round-trip ticket back into the presence of his Heavenly Father.

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