Friday, April 1, 2011

"Deja Vu," Wonder, and Destiny

Well, we had a good time at the hockey game!

I think it was the first time in a long time that Mommy, Daddy, and John Paul went somewhere, just the three of us. I had a strange, familiar feeling which at first I could not identify. Then I realized what it was.

For about a year or so, Eileen and I and John Paul were the whole family. Thirteen years ago, we rambled about, the three of us. We were the Janaro family (then, after awhile, there was Agnese in Mommy’s tummy). Last night, it “felt” natural to be “just the three of us” again, in a way that I don’t think would be the same if we were with one of the girls. Not that it wouldn’t be fun to go out special with just one of the girls, but it wouldn’t have that “deja vu” feeling that I experienced last night.

John Paul is still the same person that he was when he was a year old. That little boy, pushed about in a stroller, nursing, learning to walk, and blabbering his first words–that little boy who even then showed a remarkable intelligence and presence: it’s the same boy. He is almost as tall as his mother now. But going on an adventure together brought back memories of when we used to do it all the time (except he didn’t need a car seat).

We used to take him everywhere. That’s the way it is with your first baby. Pop him into the car seat, grab the diaper bag, and off you go. Restaurants, parties, even long road trips. No problem. Actually, my wife would probably say it wasn’t quite that easy. But relatively speaking.... Anyway we were a little team. So it was again last night.

Identity and change are mysterious things. Relationships change, families grow, a new child comes into the family and changes the dynamics of everything. In some imperceptible way, every new person changes the dynamics of the whole world. Walking through the city on our way to the Verizon center, looking at the faces of all the people, it is a challenge to believe that every person matters. And yet each person who moves in that crowd is convinced that at least he or she matters, somehow, for something. But it is a fragile conviction, often shaken by circumstances.

I know that we matter, that we are in the world for a reason, as individual persons and as a family. Sometimes insignificance seems to press in on us from all sides, but we remain strangely resilient. “Strange,” as in filled with wonder. Small experiences, small moments fill me with a wonder that is utterly disproportionate to the measure of space and time that hems in our small lives.

The moments of life seem gone forever, passing from the present into the irrevocable past. But they are not lost; they are seeds sown deep in the earth, mysteriously growing, destined to burst forth into something new, and yet something we will recognize as the fruit of life.

Let us plant, and water, and wait for the growing.