The dearest freshness

Yahweh, Yahweh, always pain before a child is born.
Yahweh, Yahweh, still I'm waiting for the dawn. — U2

Our per­son­al Baby-exit could hap­pen any day now. Hope­ful­ly, it will be eas­i­er and less fran­tic than the Brex­it. It might help that there is lit­tle room to nego­ti­ate; the baby is now the only one with deci­sion pow­er. And he has a few more weeks to make his entrance into the world.

Obvi­ous­ly, hav­ing a baby is not some­thing that you can just organ­ise or make hap­pen your­self. But at the same time, not using con­tra­cep­tives is a con­scious choice for most peo­ple, as it was for us. Before, I was nev­er able to under­stand peo­ple who made this choice. I just didn’t have the courage.

How can you jus­ti­fy expos­ing some­one who does not even exist yet to a ‘civ­i­liza­tion’ that deliv­ers a new tech­ni­cal break­through every day, but leaves des­per­ate refugees to drown in the Mediter­ranean? Even worse, our child will con­tribute to all these prob­lems, sim­ply by shar­ing in our pros­per­i­ty. God for­bid, he might buy a car! He might bliss­ful­ly watch nature doc­u­men­taries on his Sam­sung Galaxy S30, while the last polar bear slow­ly crash­es through the ice.

I can go on list­ing every­thing that is wrong with the world. At the same time, I know that when we look our child in the eye, we will see every­thing that is good about the world. Dan­gling between hope and fear, that is how every­one begins their life.

I recent­ly came across a poem that beau­ti­ful­ly express­es this hope. Ger­ard Man­ley Hop­kins wrote it in 1877. The sun that ris­es every day, a baby who is being born: “There lives the dear­est fresh­ness deep down things.” U2 joins in with their song ‘Yah­weh’.

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shin­ing from shook foil;
It gath­ers to a great­ness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Gen­er­a­tions have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is nev­er spent;
There lives the dear­est fresh­ness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morn­ing, at the brown brink east­ward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

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