Most of the time life moves along like a river - smoothly, quietly, consistently. While you can never stick your foot in the same river twice, in large degree, just looking you'd never know that. One day blends into the next. Time goes by like an ever flowing stream. The artificial breaks of months and years are just that. Every now and then, though, something happens that is a big marker, separating one chapter of life from the previous one and it is obvious that nothing will ever be the same again.
Getting married is one of those jarring changes for many people. It wasn't so for me. I'm not sure whether that had to do with my lack of maturity or what, but I didn't feel as if things were particularly different afterwards. The birth of my daughter and the adoption of my son were big deals. In both cases, I knew that the world had changed. When I was diagnosed with familial hyperlipidemia was another and I first really faced my own mortality. In 2006 both of my parents died (two weeks apart). That was a huge one as I realized that I was then in the oldest generation of my family. I wasn't the son, I was the old man.
Yesterday another huge one happened. At 7:15pm in Berkeley, CA, Corwin Alexander Busby arrived in the world. We knew he was coming. For 9 months, we've been getting ready both physically and emotionally. His mother and father, Alexis and Christian have been full of dreams and anxieties. I've been thinking about that day for months and realized that he brought with him a message of critical import. The world is not mine. Yes, I knew that some day I would die and that there would be people who followed after me who would never even hear my name let alone forget it. Still, seeing yet another new generation begin reminded me in a life changing way that I am only visiting here for a short while. Indeed the only thing that I leave behind are the relationships that have formed people who will form people who will form people for who knows how many generations.
It is sobering. It is wonderful. It is exciting. It reminds me of what is real and important. I can't wait to get that little boy in my arms and embrace a future that I will not live to see but which will go on none the less.