I was trying to describe to my wife this weekend how good it made me feel to see our daughter smile. She turned 14 weeks last Friday and she’s a sweet, smiley baby. I had a hard time really describing the feeling because it’s not something I’ve felt as often as I have recently, with her precious little smile, which she does so often as of late.
As I fell asleep on Saturday I put to thought that idea: What other part of my life has lifted my spirit with such great awe and wonder? When have I felt so moved before? I could think of many things because of the great fortunes of my life. The day I knew my wife would marry me came to the forefront of my thoughts initially. That day, and the days that followed, had a sense of love from someone other than my family that I have never felt. The day we were married, the day we moved back home after living in Oregon for 5 ½ years, the day we knew we were pregnant, the day our baby was born and all the days I come home to my wife’s sweet embrace have been days I live in spiritual serenity.
There is something different about your babies smile. My wife agrees with that. As I fell asleep, I thought of these things. As I awakened the next morning I remembered something from long ago when I was around four years old. From the age of three to almost six I grew up on a ranch. It had everything a ranch would have, at least if you could picture a ranch in your head: It had a cow, a few pigs, some chicken and a wicked rooster, a few cats, a playful protective dog, ducks, orchards, an old house, and a few fenced in areas for those animals that couldn’t be trusted to roam free. There wasn’t a barn behind the house as one might expect, but there was a vast field of wheat with the woods at the backdrop.
During the spring at the ranch the evening was something to behold. As the pollen count rose from the surrounding trees and the small white floaters took chase to the mellow winds, the sun would cast a deep glow on the long fields of wheat alongside and behind the ranch. I would stand in the back yard and watch as the golden glow of the wheat, helped by the sun, cast a rich yellow and orange hew throughout the back yard. My dog Ali (My father named him after the great heavyweights champ Muhammad Ali) would stand next to me gently whimpering softly as if to agree vocally what I felt internally. Behind me the ducks would vacate their shallow, muddy pool and waddle up to find the sunlight to bathe their feathers in its inviting warmth. This was done is a tender silence.
When I looked to the North, I would see the forest take in the sun and almost lean to the West as if to say its goodbye before the final dip of healing light went behind the Pacific Ocean and the great San Juan Islands. Watching this unfold almost every night at the ranch brought a sense of awe and wonderment that could not be rivaled in my four-year old mind. I was four and I knew great beauty. I knew what it meant to feel a melded connection to my spirit that was more powerful than a weld between two solid forms of steel. It is a feeling that connected me to the ages and made me understand at an early age something I hold dear to me this day: There is something greater than me that awaits the sunset of my life, the sunrise of my spirit, and the marriage of my chosen purpose to Its vast Glory in the Heavens.
These things I write are what I feel when my baby daughter smiles in all her precious innocence. I cannot help but swell within myself when her grin stretches across those chubby cheeks. Now, I remember. Now, my hope is that she too will find that moment in her life at an early age and recall it when her children are born and gift her with beauty of their darling grin.