Welcome to the world. It’s an amazing time to be alive. You will know a world I never will. Here’s to the life I pray you will live. Here’s to a life well lived.
Like every parent, I want nothing but the best for you and will seek with every fiber of my being to make the world a better place for you to live in. But as your father, I cannot promise anything other than the fact that I will disappoint. Time and time again I know that I will let you down. Push you too far. Expect too much. Not be strict enough when the time counts and be distant when you need me most. My humanity will hold me back from being everything you need and want. Thank god that you’re not dependent upon your father, or even mother for a life well lived, because you are the author of your narrative. We, your parents, are but mortal shadows in this world of something far greater.
In truth, I know absolutely nothing about parenting, and likewise very little about what it means to be a father (by this point you probably know this all too well). When I first found out that you were coming into this world I was swept away by excitement, fear, and annoyance. I couldn’t wrap my head around what was going to happen to my life with a son entering the world. I turned inward and fought with myself, angry at the god that was conspiring against me. It is only after 9 months of waiting and watching you slowly form in the comfort of your mother that annoyance and fear faded to joy and expectation.
As I sit here counting down the hours and minutes patiently awaiting your arrival I have come to realize that much like your mother, you are an interruption in my life and one that I sorely need if I am to survive beyond my own desires. I am eager to witness all that you will achieve, all that you will accomplish and all the beauty you will bring to the world. You have limitless potential. You are the expectation of a life well lived.
Life is short. It’s cliche, and absolutely annoyingly true. It will pass like the seasons, with life and death dancing in an infinite cycle through which the wind rages for no apparent reason. At the time you are reading this letter it may seem like an eternity, but the fragility of our physical reality is fleeting and only going to speed up as the cold winter nights close in. Time always moves forward. Clocks never rewind. It’s relentless march forward is the bain of our existence, but give us meaning, and something to fight for.
For that very reason, I’m writing you a letter to lock these words in time. I pray to the god above that you experience a life well lived and hope beyond hope that my rambling incoherent words can help you find direction.
A life lived is defined by the quality and depth of the character you develop and the richness of the narrative you construct. It is not in silence that I hope you to accept your fate, but with a roaring spark of imagination that you tenderly craft the world around you for the better.
I pray that you learn the honest difference between what is right and wrong, but more importantly, understand when to act and when to hold your tongue. With much personal experience, I hope you take risks, learn from failure and uncover fractures to surpass. I hope you learn that character is formed in the crucible of discomfort and trails, and rejoice in boisterous celebration when the time arrives. Your life is in your hands, to spend and invest in adventures and experiences that will define the narrative you shape. You are not destined for a quotidian life.
I pray that you learn to love with a passion that burns bright within an ever darkening world. But know to your core that love is not what the world defines as a fleeting emotion encapsulated by boundaries, but a repeatable act of patience, kindness, selflessness, forgiveness, grace and rejoicing that has no end. Abandon the world's definition of subjective truth and seek the objective definition for which there is no fault, no crime, no disgrace, and no barrier.
I pray that you learn the importance of family and community, but find your shackles released in the heaven above, not to be tied down to parish in fire with the toxic individuals that attempt to drown you. Family is not defined by blood, but by relationships that matter and shape you into a human with a life well lived. Family, like friends, will come and go. I pray you learn to hold tight to those that matter with forgiveness and release those that lock you down with grace to build a community around you of people that add value and shape your reality for good.
I pray that you remember your humanity and in so discover and cherish humility. Remember, there are faults that will riddle your mind and body to age you to a point beyond recognition faster than you can blink. I pray that you never forget the fragile nature of humanities definition of beauty, and seek instead to chase down a light that showers and washes away even the most disgusting deformations. Memories in this life will come and go, but be valued and cherished in each next great adventure to come. Never forget to make time for memories.
I pray that you remember your soul, value it with your mind, and treasure it with your body. Your soul will shape the morals that will craft your life and define your narrative. Your soul will challenge the ethics of quickly shifting societies and harden the shield you hold to defend the world from itself. Your soul matters. Your mind matters. I pray you find the antidote quickly for the sweet seducing poison that will surround your soul the moment you enter the world.
I pray so many things for you that if I were to write them all down it would surely bore you and prevent you from finishing this letter. So there one last item that I’d like to lock in this memory.
The world has a tendency to focus on headlines swirling with negativity. It is a reflection of our broken selves, rampant untamed egos and the sweet kiss and delight of sickness. But take hope, and find inspiration to carry on the good work of a life well lived.
It is not in worry that change is made, but in action. Find silence to ponder, think and pray. Find quietness to shelter yourself in the torrent of emotions, feelings and sounds that seek to bury you. Find energy in the desire to be a meaningful contribution to the world around you, and approach each day with wonder and raw excitement. Never cease to be exceedingly optimistic to a fault.
And lastly, find rest when the day is done.
You are the expectation of a life well lived. I must admit that who you are will define me more than any achievement, any career, any level of success or material measurement falling short of only my relationship with your mother and Jesus, who I believe saved me from myself. You will be considered in the equation of my marriage and add texture to my own narrative as you begin to choreograph your own. Your mother and I will be here to celebrate in your adventures and mourn in your failures. Know that we consider you a gift beyond the treasures of the earth. You are our next great adventure.
Dear son, I have no idea what the years ahead of you will hold. But know that your mother and I love you to infinity and beyond, seeking to provide you with a glimpse of a life well lived so that you can live your own in fullness beyond anything we could ever imagine.