There's something about being a parent that changes the world. Everything takes on a slightly different shape and color. The world becomes bigger than you can imagine - yet - everything boils down into some very small things:
1) life is dangerous
2) life is full of very simple joys.
As I watch my daughter, Grace, explore the world around her, the things that used to get me all riled up barely phase me anymore. It's my job to make sure she's able to do one thing in life - learn how to survive without killing herself or someone else. Simple enough, right?
I'm more careful now than I ever have been before. Honestly, I've lived my life pretty recklessly; I'm lucky indeed to be alive at age 38. In the vast history of humankind, I get to count myself as one of the lucky ones to have lived past 30. The health problems I have are largely due to the effects of luxurious living. From a historical perspective, I have lived a life of relative luxury.
Yet, I have spent a lifetime bathing in petroleum products. I've continuously assaulted my body with petrochemicals, organic chemicals, and inorganic compounds. I've hurled my body at high rates of speed and then crashed it into objects - while driving my car. All that rapid transit sure does hurt the body when it comes to a sudden halt. I never used to think about that until I became a mother.
I want my child to bathe in a future full of purity. I would rather my daughter grow up in a world where she sees only the love, and none of the pain. I know that I can't keep her from ever getting a scrape, but I'd like to do whatever I can to make sure she has softer landings.
The thing that is hardest for me is realizing that there are still too many who do evil. Some people would hurt my child - just because they can. They feed upon the power it brings them to take from her. That's what I get about the Occupy movement; it's a bunch of folks standing up and saying, "Stop feeding on us."
The trouble is, though, that it all starts within. You can't get rid of the garbage until you see it. It's a hard thing to do - learning how to identify garbage. Looking at my daughter, it gets easier. All I have to ask myself is this: "Is this something I want her to think is normal?"
What do I want her to think "normal" is? In the way we treat each other, in the way we live - day by day. Is living a life of affluence really what I want her to have? Or is it possible to have both simplicity and affluence at the same time?
I'm not sure what the answers are, but I'm certain that the answers are NOT in petroleum. I'm thinking there might be some good answers in the Bible, the Torah, the Quran, the Bhagavad-Gita, and in the myths of the Tribal elders. Even the Greek gods taught us not to take what wasn't ours, and to not let ourselves think that we are gods. Pride goeth, etcetera.
I'm in search of a real life, one that's not coated in plastic, fake, materialistic, empty-calorie sludge. I want my daughter to know the sense of accomplishment of creating something beautiful from her own mind - rather than following a pattern printed on a kit made in China. I want her to continue to find joy every time she explores her world.
God gave us Eden. We screwed that one up big time. When Christ came, he gave us Earth.