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Friday, June 3, 2011

Seven pounds of perfection: Welcoming a new baby to the world

Who wouldn't want toes this perfect?

I can think of no better way to describe my new daughter to you. One word encompasses so much I can't even fathom it. Her tiny toe bubbles make my heart melt. The dimples on the back of her hands make my mouth form a silent "Ohhh" when she's sleeping in my arms. The dimples on her chubby face are even better.

She already has more hair than me, but that's because of this. Her dark hair is a departure from the two blondies I started out with. I love it. After three days with her as a part of my life, I love her in ways only a parent can understand. As my mother puts it, our daughter came into the world "trailing clouds of glory." The clouds were tailing her with good reason. How can you beat perfection?

She represents all that is important to me. We come into life perfect. We strive to leave it perfect. We just mar the perfection along the way. It is sad to me that at some point in the future, my daughter will be less than perfect. It kills me to know that choices she will someday make will cause those clouds of glory return to heaven to follow the next perfect baby down instead.

This thought makes me want to be a better man. How could I possibly let her become less than perfect? How can I keep her as perfect as possible without attaining perfection myself? In a major irony, I hold in my arms a perfect example of all that we should be. As the parent, I should be the example. But that's like trying to be an example to Christ himself. She'll learn from me. No doubt about that. She'll love me. I'll make sure of that. She will love playing with her daddy. I've already set the precedent there with my first two kids.

But she'll see my shortcomings, because I still have plenty. I cannot think of a stronger motivator for repentance and striving to live a perfect life than holding seven pounds of perfection in my arms. Her heavy eyelids rarely open, but that doesn't keep me from being able to see the halo blazing above her head. When she does manage to prop her eyes open, I can't believe the depth of life I see in her. Newborns are just that: newly born. They have a minuscule, uncoordinated body, but looking into their eyes tells it is not the beginning of all they know. Just a new beginning. A new body. A fresh start. Perfection, for a while.

We all have the chance to attain perfection, or else there wouldn't be a commandment telling us to be perfect. We have all been perfect at some point. There is no reason we cannot attain that again. We just have to work at it a lot harder than those babies who just crossed the veil.

Fatherhood and motherhood are the fastest, most effective ways to achieve that. With three kids, I can assure you I haven't attained perfection, but as a parent you get a small glimpse into what God sees. And that is worth a trillion sermons. If a picture speaks a thousand words and a toddler speaks a hundred words, a baby preaches the whole gospel just by coming to your home. All from seven pounds of purity.

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