Sometimes I recognize the humanity of other people, and it overwhelms me. When I recognize my son’s being, overwhelmed comes nowhere near describing what I feel.
Sometimes I look at him and think, “He used to not be.” There was a time not long ago when Tater did not exist, and now he does. I don’t understand. I know that a biological process occurred—conception, pregnancy, and birth did not surprise me. What staggers me is the overpowering personhood evident in every move he makes. To sit beside a baby is perfectly reasonable, but to see that baby exhibit such joy, such agony, such desire, such intent, such humor, such curiosity, and to have no self-consciousness simply boggles my reason.
I believe in God. I believe he has always existed and that he created the universe and everything in it, including the first humans. But if I didn’t believe in God, I would think that perhaps there was a time when humanity decided something must exist beyond this life, and thus was born religion. Perhaps a couple of parents in antiquity sat with a baby and realized that biological processes didn’t fully explain the person resting in their arms. Perhaps those parents considered that maybe something outside of nature infused babies with something beyond blood and bile. Perhaps they came up with the idea of an all-powerful creator because nothing else could explain the wonder they felt at the sight of their precious child. And perhaps they were right.