I'm already telling him/her/zir the story over and over again. I'm already hearing her/his/zir teenage voice finishing the story and rolling eyes. "At your ultrasound, you gave us the peace sign. You have been waging peace in this world..."
"Since I was a fetus...yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. Can I have the car keys?"
Ze/he/she would roll eyes at a proud mom, but the truth would be that he/she/ze would be heading out the door to participate in an artistic communal prophetic peace rally and as my teenage child zoomed away in a George Jetson car, my heart would swell and my child would know her/his/zir commitment to peace was prenatal.
We posted this picture on Facebook. More than one person commented "Best. Ultrasound. Ever." And somehow I was moved to tears with pride over this little one that I know almost nothing about.
We're only half way through gestation with this little one. But I can already play the script out. And I want to play the script out. This moment in time where our child put up two fingers and the ultrasound tech managed to freeze them in time will be a defining moment. Or, I want it to be. I want to be proud of this little one who will grow to be a big one for peace.
But that future is not mine to dictate. I don't know that it's even mine to wish for. What is mine to wish for is for this child to be the fullness of who Yahweh, the God who is with, is bit-by-bit weaving zim/her/him to be.
And my pride and joy is to love and guide - but to allow this child to become the person this little one will be and to love this child wholly without regard or future plans or vicarious living through his/her/zir eternal soul and infinite story unfolding before Luke's and my eyes.
And it's hard.
It's always hard to participate but not control, to guide but let go, to dream but allow God's dreams to be bigger than mine.
This child may grow up to be a soldier. I can't imagine how that would be a good thing. I am staunchly a pacifist. But God is bigger than my imagination and I can only hope God's dream for this kiddo is wilder than my imagination. This child could grow up to loathe that story and wish that something else had been his/her/zir first story. And I will love this kiddo all the same. And I will be proud all the same. And maybe - probably - I'll learn something. And I will trust that the Divine Other who breathed life into Adam and Eve, who has been guiding and co-authoring story with humanity throughout history, who has walked and gently lead me through the twisting turning journey of my life is also walking with this child. And I will trust. And I will rejoice.
I have in my head the closing scene of Drop Dead Fred. Have you seen it?
Throughout the movie, a woman is plagued by her childhood imaginary friend, Drop Dead Fred. He is constantly getting her in all kinds of trouble as he tries to bring back her playful, tenacious, strong self from childhood. He is mischievous. He defies her mother's plans for her with a benevolent vengeance. He reminds her of everything good and strong in childhood and in her.
And in the end, when she has found herself again, he knows his work is done and he leaves her.
But in the very last scene, a rambunctious little girl is making Hell for her nanny with such joy and abandon and sincerity of heart - and she says "Fred made me do it." And you see the grown woman watching the girl and smiling to know Fred is still sewing devilish good in the life of a new child. And it looks nothing like what her parents would hope.
It is tempting to script out my child's life. But, for one, it wouldn't work. More importantly, though, we'd miss out on Fred's crazy adventures. Or, truly, we'd miss out on that wild Holy Spirit grabbing hold of this new soul, like Drop Dead Fred running crazy out the door with a little girl in hand - or like the Spirit has grabbed my hand and ran out the door to countless unpredictable adventures - and leading her/him/zir on a wild and wildly good journey. And I wouldn't miss that for the world.
And I think children are great teachers of lessons like this. Reflecting on ourselves as children is a great teacher of lessons like this. But it applies everywhere. The church we are starting. The ministry with neighbors experiencing poverty, addiction, and mental illness we are embarking on. Our marriage. Where this broken country is headed. Any goal I have .For that matter, each day I wake up to.
It's hard. It's always hard to participate but not control, to guide but let go, to dream but allow God's dreams to be bigger than mine. But they always are. Bigger. Better. Less tame. More exciting. Wild. Often more painful. But always good. So deeply good.