Today marks my son’s third birthday. It’s been an incredible journey thus far, and as one parent warned me, “just when you don’t think it can get any better, it does!” In many respects, my life with my son has been a foretaste of what I think the new heavens and new earth will be (except without the occasional tantrums, crying, disobedience, selfishness, impatience, and the like). Jonathan Edwards once gave a sermon called, “Heaven is a World of Love”. One of the most inspiring points of his sermon was that heaven would be a place where just when we didn’t think that we could experience any more joy, the next day would bring even more fullness, even more ecstasy. My relationship with Calvin has been largely this sort of progression. By his simple and plain observations of the world, his straightforward commentaries, and his hilarious outbursts and retorts, I find joy and excitement in the nooks and crannies of life that adulthood has told me to overlook.
At the same time, Calvin has shown me the depths of my selfishness and ongoing desire to reign and rule my own life (and my own empire). When he was an infant, waking up early in the morning to change his diaper exposed the self-centered settledness of my own schedule, my own preferences, and my own conveniences. Even now, there is a constant tension as I struggle to let him express his own personality, to train him in godliness, and to not conform him to my own expectations, dreams, and hopes. He shows me my powerlessness, and he shows me my need for a Savior.
Donald Miller wrote in the book, “To Own A Dragon,” that perhaps the closest thing to agape-type love on this earth is the love that a parent has for his child. Even the relationship between a husband and a wife was at some point conditional – based on looks, interests, personality – all these things made the two attracted to each other in the first place. However, the love that a parent has for a child is unconditional. No matter what the child does, no matter how he looks, no matter how cranky the personality, he’s my kid, and I love him (remember that Seinfeld episode about the “ugly baby”?).
Space doesn’t even allow for how my son has influenced my relationship with Sarah. Seeing her grow more and more beautiful as a mother is breathtaking in and of itself.
All this to say, happy birthday, kid. Thanks for being the aural chamber in which the echoes of the myth reverbate with ever increasing force in my heart, home, and marriage. You are daddy’s buddy!