Thursday, February 8, 2018

Dear Son // Goodness, etc.

Dear Son,

You're supposed to be here in 11 days. And I'm not at all ready. I don't think I've ever been ready. That's not to say that I'm not excited to meet you or that I didn't want this to happen—not at all! You are the best gift that I've ever received, and you're already wholly loved... I just doubt myself. I doubt my ability to be a good mom and to give you a good home. Worse, I can't promise you a good world. But what is "good?"

That's what I struggle with. Understanding goodness. As Steinbeck wrote in East of Eden, "And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." When I first read that book and that line, it highlighted my struggle, that I have a hard time differentiating between goodness and perfection. And maybe that's what I'm afraid of—not being a perfect mom. Not having a perfect (or complete!) home. Not having a perfect world. And as you grow to know me, you'll find that I am in a constant battle to rid myself of being controlled by perfection. So what is good? And is that something I can give you?

Sometimes I think about the world you are coming into, and by "world" I mean all of it: the world in front of you, the world around all of us. And I feel like a mama bear protective of her cub, but also aware that eventually you'll be out in the wild, exploring and discovering things for yourself. That is a very scary reality for me. But as scared as I am, I want to be better. I want to be fearless when it comes to raising you and introducing you to this world. One of my many great hopes is that I can tell you about—and keep reiterating—the GOOD in this world. Not about it's perfection, because it is far from perfect. It is a fallen world that is constantly being redeemed. That right there is the summation: redemption is what makes this world good.

It's a holy redemption. It's God calling the world (around us and inside of us) back to Him and restoring it and renewing it. From the renewal of creation to the renewal of your mind, to finding what was lost, to restoring what has been destroyed, and to experiencing newness every morning that you wake up. letting Light fill both the day and your heart.

"The world is broken and in need of healing, and also beautiful and in need of enjoyment." That's something we hear a lot at Imagine, and it's very true. I hope you can look into the imperfections of the world without ignorance or apathy or dismissal, but with faith for healing and restoration. I hope you can look at the beautiful things of this world and feel immense gratitude that you get to partake in it. I hope you never forget to be generous and kind with your blessings. Goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life, and I hope you willfully lead them both into the sorrowful, unjust places that need more goodness, that need more mercy.

I hope you know that YOU are good. If you're keen to it, you'll find that the flesh, the devil, and the world will all try to tell you otherwise. But you don't have to be perfect to be good. You were made in the image of a GOOD God. You were created for good works. And surely, you will fight and struggle with areas in your heart where you can be better, that is, more like Christ. There will be choices you make in life that solicit the forgiveness of God, because sin is a real thing, and it's what will keep separating you from goodness. But just because you are growing and constantly becoming, doesn't make you bad. At your absolute worst, when you find yourself at your lowest, when you feel heavy with regret, when the Light you woke up with seems a little dimmer and you are tired of fighting and growing and becoming, and when you do not feel good, He is still good.  He is your something good.

I tell you all this because there may be times when I am not good, and your father as well. We may not display the best of this world before you. But I hope you also look at us know that we too are broken and in need of healing. We too fight for the goodness in our souls. We too are growing and becoming and understanding more of who we should and shouldn't be. We're in need of grace.

I'm still terrified that you're on your way. I'm nervous about how to love you best. I'm scared about not being a good mom. I'm scared about life not being good to you! But I do know that when you come into this world and take your first breath, inhaling the air we all share, I will be holding in my arms the purest form of goodness. You are a beloved gift to me and this world. And despite however good or not good the world is when you arrive, you are my something good.


PS. perhaps you'll hear things in this vein, about goodness/sin/redemption in many forms over your life.  It might become a broken, meaningless record.  That's what happened to me, and it actually feels awkward as I verbalize it.  But at least know that these words come from the heart and soul of your very protective and deliberate mother, and I won't be cheap with the truths I pray become lodged in your inmost being.