Email List Family Micro Memoirs Personal

Hello Louis

This is the moment.

You’re here. It becomes real now. I watched Anna get big. I watched her sing to you, talk to you. I felt your legs kick as I touched from outside. It was real, but it was distant. This is the moment it changes. That’s the way it works for dads. Mums bond for the whole 40 weeks. For dads, it’s when they first hold their baby. In an instant, I’m told. This is the moment.

It’s been 9 hours in this dark room. Apparently that’s quick. It felt like forever. I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad it’s over for Anna. That was a lot.

They’re blowing on your face.
“Come on, let us hear your voice!”
You’ve only been here for a few seconds.
Should I be worr- You let out a cry. Your voice!

They turn the lights on, lay you and your mum on the bed. Oh my god – you’re here.

I’m taking it in, taking you in, you with your mumma, and here with us.

The nurse asks something about a needle. We didn’t want this one. We didn’t want much of what they did today. I try find the word “wait”, but they put the needle in.

Oh well, you’re here. You’re lying on your mumma’s tummy. It’s perfect.

I can’t wait to hold you, but there’s no way I am interrupting this moment.

But the moment is not peaceful like I imagined, the nurses are getting anxious. I hope you’re not stressed. This is your first experience of our world. It’s loud. It’s bright. People are rushing.

One of them starts shouting and a siren goes off. A dozen people come running. There’s people everywhere. Noise. One of the nurses picks you up. There’s so much noise. So many people. I hear so many things, I only catch some of it.

“Time for a cuddle with Dad”
“…the placenta is…”
“trying to save your life”
“this is going to hurt, but we’re saving your life”

I’m holding you for the first time. This is the moment, but this is not it.

I look at Anna, she’s got fear in her eyes. I look at her body, there is blood everywhere. So much blood. It’s like a gunshot wound.

I feel the fear too.

I look down at your eyes. You’re squinting in the light. It’s so bright out here. So loud. But you’re calm, you’re not crying. I think you’re the only one here not crying or yelling.

You’re so tiny.

I squeeze you a bit tighter. Too tight? I haven’t held many babies. I thought I would be nervous about this, but I find my confidence quickly. You’re here and you’re mine and I’m holding you. I’ll hold you your whole life. I love you.

Your eyes settle on my face. I squeeze you a little tighter, and lean you into my bare chest. I don’t even remember taking my shirt off. I cover your ears, turn your eyes from the light, try to shield you. I want to protect you.

I want to protect your mum. I look over again, there’s a big nurse putting her whole weight onto Anna’s torso. She’s crying out in pain. The blood is everywhere. It dawns on me: she might not make it. There’s even more people now. One of them is putting a clipboard in front of her face and asking her to sign.

I make eye contact with your mumma. So much love. We’re both scared. Everyone is still shouting. They start to wheel her out on the bed. All the nurses and midwives and doctors go with her.

Suddenly I’m in the bright cold room, just with you. It’s quiet. You’re still squinting, looking around. At me, at the lights. Struggling to focus those brand new eyes. You’re so quiet. Peaceful.

“It’s just you and me mate”.

I’m talking about the room, calm and silent. But I’m also bracing for the possibility, the fear… I had never planned for that. I am crying. Holding you tight.

“I love you”.

As your eyes continue to wander around the wall, over my face, onto the lights, and I keep holding your tiny body tight to my chest… I know I would do anything to keep you safe. Even if it’s just you and me. There’s a deep well of strength I find inside – I didn’t know it was there, but it’s enough.

This is the moment.

Photo of my holding baby Louis, a day old, on a hospital bed.
Me and Louis, the day after this story.
Faith Personal

The story of the millions of dollars

Matthew 25 contains one of Jesus’ most well known stories, and it goes like this:

There was a rich man who was about to go out on a long journey.  He called 3 of his workers to him, and entrusted them with his wealth.  He gave each of them a different amount depending on what he knew they were up for – the first he gave $5,000,000, the second he gave $2,000,000, the third he gave $1,000,000.  (A “talent” in the bible was 20 years wages.  20 years * average Perth salary of $50,000 = $1,000,000). Certainly a lot of money – even for the guy who got the least.  And apparently the rich man trusted each of their abilities enough that he thought it safe to leave it with them while he went away.

The first two went out, and put the money to work.  Whether they invested it, or started a business, or just did clever trading, I don’t know.  But whatever they did, worked – they doubled the money their boss had entrusted to them.

The third guy though was scared of screwing up.  In the story he says “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground.”  It seemed like this guy felt that no matter what he did, he couldn’t live up to the (in his mind) unrealistic expectations of his boss.

Needless to say, the rich man came back, and was pretty stoked with the results of the first two – and promised them bigger and better opportunities.  The third guy however he was angry with.  He didn’t challenge the accusation that he expects a lot – but he challenged the guys response.

The third man saw the high expectations, considered them unrealistic, panicked, and went with what he considered the least risky option.  Another possibility is that he was just lazy – and this whole thing was his excuse for not doing anything.

I’ve spent a bit of time tonight pondering this expectation from God.  In the Hebrew Bible harvesting what someone else planted was a form of oppression – you were getting rich from someone else’s hard work.  Is that what this man is accusing his boss of?  Is that what God does, comes in to profit from our hard work?

Well not quite, the boss did invest.  He didn’t come asking for money when he did nothing in the first place.  He gave the guy a million dollars, and entrusted it to him – presumably so that he would work with it and increase it.  From what I can tell, wealth is something we can generate, and it doesn’t have to be generated by stealing from other people.  And the boss gave him money because he knew this guy was capable of generating wealth, to the same capacity as the other two – he could get a 100% return on investment too.

God wasn’t selfishly coming to collect what he had no right to – he gave this guy something to work with, and the man did no work.

Whether he didn’t because he was honestly scared, and the fear of failure seized him, or whether it was laziness and the fear was merely an excuse – this man was capable of generating a return, but he didn’t. He was capable of doing equally great work with what he was entrusted with, but he didn’t.  And so he was shown the door.

We know from other parables that God isn’t concerned about financial return on investment.  Rather, he wants to see us doing good work, and wants to see us working faithfully with what he’s entrusted to us.

Think about an investor.  Some are out there to make a quick buck, but some are people who already have a lot of money, and they invest not to get more, (they already have enough), but instead they invest to set other people up for success. The money they give out is to help other people get off the ground and do amazing work.  But if the person they invest in squander the money, do you think they will continue to invest?  No, they’ll pull their money out.

I think that’s what’s happening here.  God wants to set us up for success.  He’s not in this to profit from us, rather, he’s in this to see us succeed. The first two guys in the story saw what God entrusted them with, and did amazing work.  The third guy was also entrusted with a lot, but he did nothing with it.  He ignored what the boss had entrusted to him, and so in a way, rejected the vote of confidence.  The boss gave him money because he knew he was good enough, but the man rejected that, and did nothing anyway.  When the time came to show where the money had gone, the boss saw it wasn’t getting used, he withdrew the investment – and put the money somewhere where he was confident it would be put to good use.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
Luke 12:48