Skip to main content

an open letter to my unborn son

april 22, 2007

to my unborn son,

its spring out here. it beat you by a few days, and it brought with it buds and blooms and bugs and the kind of warmth that calls deep into the dark grave, loud enough that your snow-shivering soul can hear it. the feeling out here is the kind that can make you believe that you can come out and breath again; that you can dig your hands in the dirt, take your shoes off. there is life everywhere out here.

the world seems ready for you. you can come out now.

we await you. we have dreamt about you. we've prepared for you. your older brother has been yelling into you through mommy's belly (have you heard him? he's the one who's been shouting, "come out baby brother!"). soon your mother will labor for you. you will hopefully build up the courage to make a daring watery escape, an exodus of sorts, from darkness to light; from dependence to a new kind of independence (you'll have to eat your own food now!); from safety to risk; from a warm watery womb to a world that is sometimes cold as winter.

my little boy, as yet unnamed, i wanted to write to you to thank you for already teaching me. i haven't even met you yet, yet i know that i would die for you. i know that i am your father, but i also know that at best i am broken and i am often selfish. if i, you're broken and selfish father, can love you like that, how much more must God love you? and your mommy? and me?

and what else do you have to teach me, my son?

still, the love we are waiting to wrap you in, while thick with hope, can make few promises. we will do our best (that's a promise), but we may not always be able to protect you. we may hurt you from time to time with words or looks. we will undoubtedly make mistakes. we can promise you that we won't be perfect parents.

and not only that, but this world that you're about to get your first glimpse of, well, it too is broken at best. i mean, while its got things like spring and rhythm and potato chips and bluegrass and warm fires and grand canyons and biscuits, it also has things like hate and confusion. and murder. and war.

i want you to know that your mother and i knew that it was a risk to bring you into this world. but one of the few things i know for sure is that real love takes risks. and we do love you. more than we could possibly express to you.

and so we are ready to welcome you to this broken world. ready to hold you in our imperfect arms until you are ready to fly. ready to love you the best we can against any odds. ready to face the risks of life with you. ready to learn what you have to teach us. ready, most of all, to share our lives with you.

i love you already.



RedBank Billy said…
Beautiful....just beautiful!
Mary said…
you should print that and save for new baby m. made me cry.

did you ever get a chance to glimpse through that dad book i gave you? your letter is more beautiful and honest than that books, but same idea :)
greg. said…
yeah, mary. i read many of the letters in that book. i think its cool that he did it like everyday or something. it was pretty sad when i read that he died, though. yikes.
mego said…
Next time we hear from your new baby will be here! I'm praying for you guys today - can't wait to hear how it goes...
Crafty P said…
Can't wait to hear your little boy's name! Hoping and praying all went well today!!!

Love to you all!
Dan said…
Your letter was just beautiful. I was reading here at work looking at a picture of Joel and getting all choked up. I was just glad that nobody walked into my office and saw me blubbering like a baby.

Popular posts from this blog


i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …

thankful right now

"if the only prayer you ever say in your life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." -Meister Eckhart

"thanksgiving is inseparable from prayer." -John Wesley

i've been thinking about gratitude quite a bit this week, and how to foster a thankful spirit in the midst of the barrage of bad news that for me is punctuated by yet another "breaking news" notification on my phone, interrupting the busyness of my day to rudely remind me that the world's brokenness knows nothing of limits or boundaries, not to mention my schedule or sanity.  still, the bad news keeps coming. 

i just scrolled through my most recent notifications just from the last few days and they contain phrases like "crimes against humanity," "57 million users hacked, but not reported," "alleged pattern of sexual abuse," and "extremely disturbing," just to name a few.  how am i supposed to be present at a staff meeting when my phone is buzzing …