In between birth and death what’s supposed to happen?

As I gazed down at my one day old granddaughter I wondered what life would have in store for her. Would life be tough for her, in which case what was the point of her being born at all? It made me wonder why we have children. Is it because this is simply what humans do, we have children, so why analyze it? But does that mean that humans have no purpose more meaningful than animals or insects, that exist merely to reproduce, play whatever part they’ve been programmed to play, and then fade into nothing? Is that life, just adjusting to whatever happens? Or with humans is something else supposed to happen between birth and death?

I was thinking about all this for the lecture I felt I ought to give to my son, now that he had a daughter. It got me thinking about why any of us are here on this planet, existing together, having families, training for careers, taking vacations, having hobbies, and getting sick. The years fly by with little time to actually think about what we’re supposed to be learning. But then I watched my son gazing down at his daughter, unable to take his eyes off her. He sat there in enraptured silence, oblivious to the hubbub of doctors and visitors.

And I knew then what my lecture would be about. It would be, “Love your daughter like you love her now, because that’s what we’re here for as humans, to experience the staggering power of love.” And now it would be his turn to demonstrate the staggering power of love to his daughter, as he loved her for the rest of their life together, no matter what she did, or how she turned out, or how many dreams she shattered.

Love her as you love her now, because if she’s adorable as a helpless, utterly dependent, completely self-centred food and poop machine why should that change when she grows into a flourishing, fiercely independent, totally unique being with personality, wild ideas, cheeky humour, sparkly eyes, and a growing awareness of how much she’s valued and loved causing her to want to love and value others in return? And will she then want children for that reason too, to repeat in the life of someone she herself has created what she learnt from her Dad who loved her for nothing else than being her?

And what would be the purpose of all this love? To get a glimpse of the love that awaits us all when we meet God for the first time, who loved us for nothing else than us being us too.


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