The conversation below is something I’ve often had in my head, and it has become more relevant since having a baby. What kind of world will Jack grow up in? How can I bring someone into a world filled with so much hate and pain? Heavy stuff. But in the months after having Jack, I’ve felt so much love and support from my community that it has renewed my faith in humanity. I feel the joy, the love, the sense of being a part of something bigger than myself even in the midst of all the pain around us. I know feelings are fleeting, and I might not always see things this way, but I hope I remember what this feels like, that I remember all the beauty around me and that Jack will see it too.
God: You have a chance to be alive, to be human.
Possible Human: Tell me what it’s like.
God: It will be hard. Chances are you won’t be born into a situation with lots of resources, let alone a country with lots of resources. Even if you are, you will still have times of struggle, just in a different way.
Some of the people you love will be taken without warning. It might be because of violence, or it might be because of a disease that strikes at random. You will feel powerless to fix this.
Life will be harder if you are not considered conventionally attractive and do not look like the people in power. Life will be harder if you have some kind of a disability. You will try to grasp onto situations where you feel in control of your life, but really, there is very little truly within your control. You don’t get to choose how you look, where you are born, or the innate talents you may or may not possess.
You see, part of being human is feeling pain and facing uncertainty. There will be heartbreak, failure, anger, loneliness, and disappointment. The only constant will be change.
Possible Human: And to think, up until now I thought being human was something miraculous—that the probability of existence for each individual, when there are so many other combinations possible, is mind blowing, and that to be a part of the human race meant that your particular combination of genes had to be just so. But maybe the lucky ones are those that will never be alive–those combinations of genes that will never be given a chance. He or she will miss out on all this pain.
God: Humans have the capacity to do very evil things to each other. There is the capacity to feel great pain, but despite this, perhaps because of this, humans have the capacity to feel immense love and joy. You might find forgiveness where you least expect it. You might change someone’s life for the better. You might fall in love. You might master something you never thought possible and feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
You will watch the sunrise and set and wonder at the beauty of the earth, the magnificence of this place, where your humanity feels both fragile and perfectly balanced. You will feel powerful one day and insignificant the next, and this will be exhilarating. You will be thankful to be alive and feel so deeply. It is like nothing you can even imagine.