Harper needs to be exposed to evil

Harper needs to see the darker side of the world to appreciate the good and to know the plight of many people. In Anne Rice’s book, Christ the Lord, seven year old Jesus witnesses the terror of running from bandits and people intent on robbing and perhaps killing he and his family. He sees the destruction of cities and the many displaced people and is saddened. He is also frightened by this. But in all this Jesus is “sensitive”. He recognizes it as evil even though his child mind doesn’t understand it. I think in reality Jesus did witness similar atrocities and it helped form his compassion for others and refine his message of salvation – a salvation not based in this world, but as a deliverance from it. Or perhaps a transformation of the world by God’s power to be something better. A new earth.

I need to shelter and protect Harper, but I also need to allow him to see some evil in doses he can handle, so that he can have a realistic image of the world he lives in so that he will develop a genuine compassion. I was sheltered too much (with all good intent) by my parents and, consequently, do not have a potent compassion for the plight of others. If harper is to change the world, he needs to understand this…. As do I.

Ask God to talk to me

Yesterday, I was reading the story of Samuel to Harper (I have been trying to read him bible stories every night).  He loves his bible.  In the story, Samuel hears his name called three times in the middle of the night.  The high priest, Eli, advises Samuel to reply with, “Lord, I am listening” when next he hears the call.  Samuel does and the Lord begins speaking to him and uses Samuel as his prophet.

Laying next to Harper, I explained that God speaks to us in many ways, but sometimes he speaks to us directly either in our dreams or when awake.  He leaned in close to me and in the most innocent and sweet way asked, “Daddy, will you pray for God to talk to me?”  I nearly lost it because I have prayed for this since before Harper is born.  On most nights, after Harper is asleep, I’ll go into Harper’s room, kiss him and place my hand on his forehead and offer up this prayer – that God will reveal himself to Harper and make him into a good man who loves God and others.  So to hear my baby boy ask me to beseech God on his behalf fills me with joy and love for my son.  I love you Harper so much that it hurts.

Angel in the corner

When Harper was very little (2-8 months) he would stare into the same front corner of our living room and smile. This was back when he had trouble visually focusing on things and his head bobbled everywhere. It really freaked me out for a while because it was just like he was looking at someone. His little smiles and laughs were just like the reactions that he had when I would make silly faces at him. He would stare into the corner and smile and giggle as if someone was making their own invisible silly faces at him.

I immediately thought of what Scott Langdon and I had discussed about 5 years before – that he believes that our spirits are eternal and that we, in heaven, choose to be born into this world so that we can gain an enlightening experience for the purpose of building greater appreciation for God and the heavenly world. Scott believes that when we are born into this world, there is a small part of us that remembers the eternal world from which we came; like there is a spill-over period of time where we remember personal experiences from both worlds simultaneously.

So in watching Harper, I perceived that perhaps this was something of what was happening to him. I came to believe that he was seeing a guardian angel who was making funny, smiling faces at him. The bible speaks of guardian angels and that God has sent them to watch over us. Therefore, this idea not only seemed quite plausible, but also very comforting – that God’s angelic servant, at the behest of God, was watching over my newborn son and that my special miracle of a boy had a personal connection to the divine in his infancy.

In watching all this, I realized the bittersweet truth that as the newborn gray of Harper’s eyes faded, the direct vision of God’s servant wasn’t to last. Harper, like all the rest of us, was destined to slide deeper into this world and further out of the spiritual world. His corruption process began the moment he took his first breath. It is a wonderful grace, for which I am deeply thankful, that God allowed his messenger to remain in Harper’s vision as long as he did. It is a symbol of God’s longing to be with him. But the taint of sin on this world is too powerful and Harper’s soul grew larger with each earthly breath, thereby diminishing his spirit. The angel disappeared from his sight.

Sometimes, while not able to see him, I would talk to the angel in the corner. I would thank him for his protection of my son and for the blessing of his presence. Though Harper, Tara and I don’t have eyes to see him now, I still thank him and the One who sent him to my son.

What corrupts a child?

In Watchman Nee’s The Spiritual Man, Nee says the following:

If man’s spirit and soul would maintain their created perfection, healthiness, and liveliness, his body would then be able to continue forever without change. If he would exercise his will by taking and eating the fruit of life, God’s Own Life undoubtedly would enter his spirit, permeate his soul, transform his entire inner man, and translate his body into incorruptibility. (p. 45)

Watching Harper, I think about his innocence, softness and purity at his young age. Already however, at age 3, I observe a hardening occurring within him. The innocence in his eyes from a year ago has been diminished and a part of it has been replaced by a blossoming understanding that the world contains cruelty. Of course cruelty to this 3 year old is not actually cruel, but he has experienced disappointment and is increasingly realizing that life presents choices and especially limitations. I see this a s the beginning of his personal evolution toward an understanding of the world – the knowledge of good and evil.

The embodiment of such knowledge transmogrifies (transforms the nature) a person. This first introductions of this knowledge ignite a process of corruption. While watching this process begin to work in my son disturbs, saddens and frightens me, I also recognize that there is a significant beauty in it. Or rather, there is beauty in God’s response to it. This process first occurred and took its root in Eden. When Adam and Eve took and eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the mechanisms of God’s redemptive plan begin to move. God foresaw the need for man’s redemption from corruption and planned for a way of reconciliation and restored innocence in the person of Jesus Christ.

So now I can watch my son, who was born incorruptible, become corrupted so that he can journey to the point in his life where God reveals to him that he needs rescue from the mire that he currently has no idea he has dipped his little toe in. And when Harper is given his vision and realizes his opportunity, it is my hope that he will choose to reach out as far as he can and that God will deliver into his hand the gloriously brilliant fruit from the tree of life; that Harper will be born incorruptible again. Thus beginning the journey back to innocence – back to God from whence he came.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, and are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, whis is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:18