Being married for some years now, and thinking more and more about having kids on my own, I often find myself reflecting on the first moments in which I realized that I am. Being is very fascinating. (Everybody should try that some time 😉 )
Seriously: when earliest childhood memories flash through my mind and do their Harlem Shake in front of my confused mental eye, the same scenes appear again and again: certain dramatic incidents involving sickness, circumstances with the first realization of other people in my life, blurry scenes of sand box “crime and punishment” – and most of them not distinguishable into moments that I consciously experienced, or simply scenes that I reconstructed from the stories others told me. Among the few very first things I remember are times, in which my parents told me that they wanted me. That they had planned me. That they talked about me before I was fathered (and mothered…for the sake of inclusiveness). When I got a bit older my Mom often told me that she loves to remember the night in which my Dad and she decided: “This is the night for a baby!” They were in total agreement. Kind of: Now or never. A summer night. And she always smiled when she told me…
It dawns on me more and more, the older I get, what a humongous privilege it is to be a (literal) child of love. A child of parental love. Of human love. (And not just regarding my beginning, but throughout my childhood and entire life.)
This experience, which was not intended to be a privilege for some, but the norm for all men and women – I am convinced -, this feeling of being wanted is something that so many people seem to long for. Because they know – or at least just feel, which is sad enough – that they were not just not planned, but simply not wanted. It feels awesome to have been romantically planned, expected with care and curiosity, and welcomed with love and tenderness. I can hardly imagine how it may feel to not have that, but to long for that with a deep, inner yearning.
I believe that the biblical God is someone who loves and wants everyone. He is creative power. Full of intention and lovingkindness (I love this English word!!). He is pure energy, and pure information. He speaks, and things come into being. He manufactures every little cell and breathes life into batches of atoms. Yet he is not just a mechanically creating force, but He loves what he creates. It may even seem that He first loves and then creates. Or maybe loving is creating? In any case, He loves the result of human procreation – although sometimes humans don’t love their own results, their own children. And although I heard that knowing of a loving heavenly parent comes as a comfort to many who feel kind of parentless, I see complicated questions arise. One of them: If violence against men and women goes against God’s loving character, how can we say that he loves and – attention! – WANTED for example the kids that were fathered during rape? Just to mention an extreme example. Or, how logical is it really to assure oneself of the joy every child brings, when for so many mothers, kids, and families life circumstances are less than unbearable? Well, I don’t know. I have a hunch of an answer, but not too much of a clue. It’s an ideal in life, paired with the total unideal realities in this world, that offers itself to me as another sea in which my intellect, my emotions, and my faith threaten to suffer shipwreck.
The pragmatic anchor, to which I cling tonight when I switch off the computer and brush my teeth, is the simple wish that my (future) child shall also grow up with the feeling and assurance: “Sweetie, we wanted you.”