by David McElroy
I met Titus late Friday afternoon. He’s just 2 days old, but he’s already a miracle.
Titus is the first child of my neighbors, a young doctor and his wife, who’s a nurse. Even though they’re both in the medical profession and understand the process very clinically, it’s been obvious how their coming child was affecting them emotionally. They were excited and I’ve been excited to watch them go through it.
Jennifer wasn’t due to give birth until Sept. 9, but she told me weeks ago that she was certain the baby would be here by the end of August. She was right.
When I saw Ben Tuesday evening, he was carrying clothes to the car. He told me that Jennifer was already at the hospital and would be induced starting late that night, with delivery for sometime the next day. He was just grabbing a few things they might need. As I watched him drive off, I found myself feeling excited and nervous for them.
They came home sometime Thursday afternoon, but I didn’t see either of them until Ben was outside Friday afternoon when I pulled into my own driveway.
He told me Jennifer was fine and that it was a boy named Titus. (They had intentionally not known whether it was a boy or a girl.) Titus was in a window when I saw him. He had been placed into the sun’s rays for warmth.
I think all babies look pretty much identical and Titus is no exception. But as I stood there looking at this tiny human, I was filled with an odd sensation. It wasn’t quite love but it was more than appreciation for a cute baby. I wasn’t sure for the longest time what it was that I was feeling.
Titus was on his back. Because he had been placed in the sun for warmth, he didn’t have any clothes on. I could see every delicate detail of that little body. One of his arms was moving instinctively, as though to explore what was around him. The tiny fingers moved as though to grasp things that weren’t there. It seemed as though every part of that little fellow was straining to figure out where he is, how the world around him works and how he fits into it.
As I stood silently for a moment, I struggled to name what I was feeling. And then it hit me.
I felt connection with this tiny baby. He was one of us. He had joined this vast and complicated tribe that we call humanity. And even though I feel more like an alien among the people of this planet, I felt connected to this new life.
Babies are born every day. Some thrive. Some die. Some go home to loving and stable families such as the one Titus has. Others go home to uncertain and dysfunctional futures.
I will never know most of those babies. In fact, their birth and their growth is so routine that I rarely think about them except in terms of my desire to have my own children with the right woman. I don’t think about being connected to those babies — but standing there looking at Titus made me feel as though we were both individual cells of a giant superorganism.
Titus reminded me that he’s a miracle. He reminded me that I’m a miracle. He reminded me that it’s a miracle and a privilege to be connected by love to all sorts of people who matter to me.
Each new life is a miracle. The fact that we have consciousness and can love each other is a miracle — and a mystery.
Each new life somehow feels like a Divine revelation of all that’s right and good in this incredible, inexplicable Creation.
And Titus made me realize that I am connected intimately to every one of those miracles. That realization is quite a gift to receive from a 2-day-old little boy.