Thursday, February 12, 2009

Closer to God

My co-worker just announced that her husband knocked her up. (She's due in August.) The big homie and his wife are expecting their first bundle of joy later this spring. (May, maybe.) Somewhere in Youngblood's loins, Niecephew #2 waits for his/her turn to swim. (2010?)

Er'body is preggers. Or probably preggers. Sometime soon.

I'm not. That's neither a tragedy nor a surprise. It's also not physically possible. I'm a dude. Not the kind of dude you find on The L Word. A regular dude. With dangly junk. Without a womb.

Womb. It's an odd-sounding word. Say it out loud. Once. Now again. There's a certain longing majesty in between the sound the "w" makes and the way the "b" disappears into the "m." Almost as if the word wants to betray the consequence yielded by the thing it describes.

What is a womb used for? For cooking babies, of course. Also, I'd say, as a transformational device delivering ordinary human beings into a state of existence that is as close to god-like as any human can aspire to. For many parents, whether they intended to or not, that is where they land.

They don't need to be convinced of this either. Most of them describe how that sweet, screaming, pooping life upended both their world and their worldview. "It changed everything," they'll say.

I believe them. Those new parents. All of them. I think each of them experiences varying degrees of change in their spiritual orientation. But I think they all pass through the same holy portal.

Some of them crave it. As if it were the supreme application of the superego. Others stumble towards it. As if they're perplexed by their own power. There are even those who avoid it altogether. As if they would prefer to embrace their own lesser devils. The devils are, after all, usually more fun. And less work, too.

(If you're childless, go type 150 pages of something. Anything. Genius. Complete garbarge. Whatever. Then print it out. And hold it in your hand. You'll have a scaled down version of the moment every new parent experiences after the umbilical is cut. But you will get an inkling of what goes through one's mind when you hold your own creation in your hands for the first time. And you'll whisper the words "I did that" over and over to no one in particular.)

It really sucks all the air out of the deepest trenches of your belly. Leaving you floating somewhere between Jupiter and Botswana. Thinking, just for a moment, that the world really is yours. And that you can order it beneficently for this precious little creature who has Uncle Lamont's eyebrows and Auntie Tremaine's nose.

But, um, you can't.

I think that's what causes some parents to lose their minds. Others simply surrender control of the asylum to the inmates who do not yet realize there is an institution to honor.

After that momentary authority of the highest order gives way to the happy accident of humanity, you fall quickly back to the terra that doesn't feel as firm as it used to. Knowing what it is to be God. Knowing that you, most certainly, are not. Knowing that the portal is really a revolving door that will spin you back out of that glorious building whether you've been inside as long as you wanted to or not.

Naturally, it's not a hopeless endeavor. Nor is it an unrewarding one. From what I'm told, it's a terrific blessing. (Or was that terrifying blessing? I can't remember.)

I'm not ready for it myself. I have some devils I'd still like to play with.

If you happen to bump into God somewhere along your float, though, tell Him I said what up. That's as close as I'm getting. For now...?

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