Monday, September 2, 2013

Welcome to the World, Kid

     I’ve cut 6 umbilical cords in my life. 5 times I’ve done it with scissors, once with a scalpel. The first time I did it, I said 5 words that were easy enough to remember so it’s what I said each time after. I fell into a habit. “Welcome to the world, kid” is pretty informal. But I was tired the first time. I didn’t have time to think much. I just kept saying it. Maybe if I thought about it I would have said something else.
There is comfort in knowing what to do and expect. In the first years of your life that’s how it should be. In your first few months when you have a need, it should get met soon. When you’re hungry you get fed. When you’re uncomfortable you get changed. As the months go by, you might begin to learn that your needs are not always met right away. That’s part of growing up. There is a lot to learn about growing up. It might start with the first time you are hungry and not fed right away.
Those tiny memories fade to the back as new experiences fill your growing mind. New tastes are everywhere as you explore with your mouth. Some things taste good and some not so good. You may learn that taste is just like the rest of the world. Some new things to see and hear are nice and some are not. The same goes with faces peering down at you. You might not know why you don’t like some of them and why you feel some are nice. It’s okay. Your mind is growing and learning.
And one day you will learn the devastating truth that you are not the center of the world. It won’t dawn on you all at once. It may take a long, long time to realize that the big people in your life have other lives too. These other lives don’t have you as a part of them. There are big other lives of big people with work and meetings and big people talking on telephones. There are the long legs of big people standing around talking about things that are not about you and things you don’t even understand and you’re left to stand and look up and listen to big people and big words.
You slowly realize that there is a big world besides your own. It’s the whole wide world out there. It has loud things, barking dogs and rushing traffic. There are things you mustn’t touch and places you cannot run. Is everything out in the world bad? Will that clap of thunder hurt you? Can the wind blow you away? Is that man on the street with the cigarette and the scowl a bad man? Why do the bugs die when you step on them? Where did the cat go when he didn’t come home anymore? When Mommy or Daddy go, will they come back?
So hold someone’s hand when you’re scared, when you cross the street and when the wind blows so hard that you’re afraid. It’s okay to cover your ears when the noises get to loud. It doesn’t make the noise go away does it? But isn’t it nice to make the sound not so loud?
There, you see? You are learning a little about controlling the world around you. You can make it a little quieter. You can begin to pick and choose things. And then you are entering into a time in your life where you explore, not only your world, but your boundaries. How far can you go? How much is too much? What can you do and still be loved? It’s a time of learning, and it’s a time of frustration. Why can’t you eat all the toothpaste? Why can’t you walk to the ocean? Why can’t you hit? Why do you have to be nice?
And this difficult time won’t last. One day you will remember how good it feels to make people happy. One day you will want them to be friends, not just so they can like you, but because you now know that they need friends just like you. You will start to think about other people’s needs and feelings. And you will like knowing that you are helping others to be happy.
All your life so far, you will have felt love. It has grown from the day you were born when you felt loving hands on you and you loved the feel of your needs being met. Later, you loved seeing people you knew and doing things you liked. You loved affection and you loved to give it.
And eventually you learned to love in a new way. It is a love where you don’t just want what’s best for you, but what’s best for others, for the people you love. Sometimes that means you don’t get what you want, and it’s okay.
And all along from the day you were born and never stopping, you were made to be loved. You will be loved by your family, friends your creator. God made you for a reason. That reason is that He loves you very much. You will learn more about this as you grow. You will never stop learning about Him and His love.
But for now, sleep. Rest and grow. There is nothing in the big scary world right now that you need to know about. There are just two things in your world right now, growing and being loved. Welcome to the world, kid.

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