It is hard to see people you love succeed in areas you fail. You feel guilty because you are unable to enter into their joy completely. I learned that one man’s joy often shines a harsh light on another man’s pain.
I could not imagine in 2008 the joy and love I would feel today because I am a father. But I still remember the pain I felt back then, and I’m ok with that. Experiencing the pain makes the joy so much sweeter. It also reminds me that my beautiful daughter might be a bittersweet sight for friends who are dealing with infertility, failed adoptions or the death of a child. That dichotomy is real, it is tangible, and it must be wrestled with.
I want so many things for my daughter. I want her to be stronger than I am. I want her to succeed where I have failed. But I also want her to understand that some people look at the world and see beauty, while others only see pain. I want her to see both. And I want her to help those who cannot imagine anything but pain to see the beauty of God’s love flooding into a broken world.
Every night when I lay her down to sleep, I pray some version of this prayer:
Lord, we thank you for Vivian MaeVivian Mae, on October 13, 2009, you came into my life. You helped me see beauty where I had only seen pain. You pointed me back to another child, born without fanfare, when God’s love broke through the depravity of this world. I pray that you spend the rest of your life doing the same thing for everyone you meet.
And all the joy she brings
We pray that you keep her safe
We pray that she grows up big and strong
And we pray that she will show the world your beauty
Happy Birthday. Daddy loves you.