Friday, October 13, 2006

On Being an Uncle

And now, a treat for you all. I asked my brother to guest blog today's post, and boy did he pull through. Y'all give Justin a big ol' bloggers welcome!! (and check out his blog sometime)

I remember the night clearly. We had driven up from North Carolina, braved the ungodly NoVa traffic, and found our way into the hospital waiting room. After visiting for a few hours in Corinne's room, it was finally "time." And we all know when a pregnant woman is in labor in the hospital, "time" means there's about to be some pushing, some yelling, and you don't want to be here so go on and get out. A few hours and a hospital cafeteria dinner later, we figured that baby had to have come out by now, so we headed (pun intended) back upstairs.

I remember seeing Forrest come out to greet us, tears of joy down his cheek and the bright glow of pride on his face, telling us "he's so beautiful." And boy was he right. Shepherd had arrived, and we all gathered 'round the little one, marvelling that another cast member in the Human Story had heard the call of the Creator, stepped out from behind the curtain, and here he was. And here we were, anxious to see what role Shepherd would play. But for now, here he was, a tiny, fragile newborn who was adjusting to the strange and unfamiliar place we call Earth. His role for the time was to bring joy into the hearts of his mommy and daddy and the rest of the supporting cast.

Now that eight months have passed, it is obvious he has not only suceeded at his role, he's adapted it. Any new actor is bound to be the center of attention, but Shepherd doesn't just soak it all up, he rewards his audience with a big smile and maybe even a giggle (which by the way, I have determined are the key to world peace). And while some newbies don't quite meet our expectations, Shepherd has surpassed expectations as he's already scooting around on all fours and pulling up to stand at every chance he gets. On a more vain note, he's the cutest baby on the block, charming everyone he sees.

When Shepherd was first born, I had no idea what being an uncle would be like. In many ways, I still don't. I imagine it will change from year to year, just like Shepherd. But the past eight months have given me a glimpse of things to come, and I can't wait.

I have also had the blessing of seeing Corinne and Forrest blossom into their roles as parents, and I stand in awe at their performances. Their love for Shepherd is so abundantly clear and beautiful, and his love for them shows in his smile when Forrest walks into the room, or when he snuggles with his mommy.

I am so excited to see how Shepherd grows and how our relationship grows with him. And I am still amazed at the miracle that is life. To see such a beautiful child reminds us of creation, and it reminds us of our own infancy, or the loss of it.

To quote G.K. Chesterton (forgive the long quote, but it's too good to edit it), "Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore. Heaven may encore the bird who laid an egg. If the human being conceives and brings forth a human child instead of bringing forth a fish, or a bat, or a griffin, the reason may not be that we are fixed in an animal fate without life or purpose. It may be that our little tragedy has touched the gods, that they admire it from their starry galleries, and that at the end of every human drama man is called again and again before the curtain."

As I recall the miracle that is Shepherds life, I wonder if Shepherd heard the voice of God on the 20th night of February, 2006, whispering "do it again." Shepherd has stepped out before the curtain, and I can't wait to witness his performance.


Jonathon said...

It's one of the most overwhelming moments for a young father. Whoa.

Kristin said...

This was a beautiful post. Thank you!

Forrest said...

Beautiful post, Justin! You are as eloquent as you are witty (and are pretty witty ;-).