About two weeks ago, we welcomed our son Max Joseph into the world.
(While I reserve the right to gush about my family as I please, I won’t do so here – but I am incredibly blessed to have the wife and children I do :))
I could say many things about the joys or challenges of being a father to newborns, but here’s one thought that’s meant more and more to me as my child-now-children grow older:
I love to write; God willing, one day it might become something of a career for me. If I have a gift at all with words and ideas, I’d hope to be able to bless others with that. In vain moments, I even imagine producing something that remains useful to others beyond my lifetime.
But no matter how long anything I produce may last, it won’t touch my children.
They’re going to outlive the Epic of Gilgamesh (about 4,000 and counting).
This quote from C.S. Lewis scores the point:
You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. – from “The Weight of Glory”
In Max and Gwyn, I’ve become a co-creator of an eternal being: a “work” that will outlast the Pyramids. In case I needed the reminder, they are more important than anything else I might make.
This is why, as heartily as Christianity embraces expressions of human culture – including the arts – Christianity at its heart is more about human beings than human makings. It is why, I believe, the two bedrock commandments at the heart of our faith are to love God with everything we have and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Why it is better to serve the poor than to build a Third Temple. The least Byzantine peasant will endure when the greatest Byzantine basilica is dust.
Puts things in perspective, no?