On Saturday morning, our second daughter was born. My wife labored without the use of painkillers; she leaned on me and tugged at my clothes during contractions. There are few times I felt closer to her, experiencing only the moment together–or she experiencing it and me coming as close as I could, wanting her pain to be my pain but unable, really, to do much about it. Still, at 9:17 local time Macia Kate was born and our family grew, officially.
I’m taking some time off from work. Today, I made Ellis scrambled eggs and we danced in the kitchen; later, she helped me do laundry. We ran errands this evening before dinner, and I held Macia for the first long stretch today after Ellis was in bed. I was, and am, tired. But there is a simplicity to life right now. I make sure everyone eats, or has food to eat, and that no one cries too long, and then follow the day with some reading and wine. I play and clean and cook. It reminds me, a little, of backpacking and how the only concern in the mountains is where to camp and what we packed for the next meal: such routine sheds off all that we concern ourselves over. All that I concern myself over that doesn’t matter.
But more than that, I watched The Office tonight. In it, Dwight realizes that he had a child and walks into the office building smoking a cigar; he forgets his petty rivalries. New life does this to us, at least as fathers. There is no other relationship where you love the person the moment you see them, no other relationships where you would sacrifice anything for her life–on the spot, without questions. Perhaps love does this to us, as well: perhaps loving someone so suddenly and violently reminds us of all that we carry, of all that is unnecessary.
In Genesis 3, Eve is punished with pain in childbearing. Adam, for his part, will struggle to bring crops out of the earth. For both, they now must struggle now to bring forth new life. And, whether the story was true or no, it is true: it is a struggle to bring forth new life. It is a struggle in relationships to forgive and love again; it was a struggle for Brooke last Saturday morning as Macia moved closer to breathing air and being…born.
I do not know how to describe this feeling: it is continual happiness. When we realized on Tuesday morning that roots had grown into the plumbing outside our house it did not change, and it does not change tonight. Not yet, at least. It is a happiness that circumstance cannot easily change, because I have a daughter who is alive and well, and am reminded that my worries and fears are so pale compared to the rich and robust wonders of the earth, of God.
There is something clarifying about new life. I write to drink deeply from this well of clarity, so that it will not disappear as Macia ages, but I will always remember that we are created to live, and to work with our Creator to bring new life into the world around us, and there is nothing more satisfying.