(#48 in a series of people who changed the course of my life)
There are several moments in time that are imprinted on you for your entire life–memories you can see and feel, taste and smell, long after they transpire. Driving up a steep mountainous curve somewhere in Colorado with my parents and hearing my mother pitch a fit at how close to the edge my dad was driving. Riding on the tailgate of the pickup in the summer, the scent of freshly cut hay in the field. Meeting two of my sons the moment each was born.
This weekend, a two-pronged experience created a profound new memory, one I expect will be filed among the most profound.
The first part of this new memory was meeting for the first time the son of our family’s firstborn, Daniel, and Amber.
Tiny Keaton Thomas–what a miracle, perfect in every way! As I held him, I could not hold back the tears of a familiar yet whole knew kind of joy. Oh–I have always been in love with my sons but this–this love was a different kind of intense. I did not know his father when he was born; but here I was to behold his son, this precious life in his earliest days among us. It was also not lost on me how grateful I was to be in the kind of family where this moment was even possible and for my partner to be right there, together with his Gan, sharing in that joy.
The second component of this memory might have been even more acute: being offered relationship by a seven-year old boy–to sit in his room and play legos and talk about stuff and play Sorry and put a puzzle together and rough-house. Such pure love–offered so generously, so naturally–I still cannot turn down its glow.
And in those moments, I gained a resolve that more than ever–despite the strong emotional tug to stay–I must “…let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!” (Luke 14:26 MSG) and do my damnedest to make this world a better place.
Because Keaton and Cruz are counting on me.
And yes, maybe some day, they will say “Yeah, the reason everyone gets along better now than they did back in the old days is because Pops worked really hard. And our Pops had the coolest hair and dressed real cool too.”
But more likely, everyone is going to get along better in the future because of these children and their generation who will give us no choice but to love. And it will free us.
Talk about a legacy.