St. Anthony Messenger: Dances and Diapers


I hold my newborn son; he holds my gaze. As I carry him in my arms, he carries my heart to a new place. I notice every shift of his eyes, every wince, every movement, and all the thoughts he has not yet learned to express. I feel every ounce of energy jolting through his body. Then I feel the energy slowly dissipate, trickling out into the nothingness, as I bob him up and down, swaying in the living room to Fleetwood Mac. His body relaxes as he closes his eyes.


As we dance, I’m reminded of Thomas Merton’s communion with the birds outside his hermitage: “Sermon to the birds: ‘Esteemed friends, birds of noble lineage, I have no message to you except this: be what you are: be birds. Thus, you will be your own sermon to yourselves!’ Reply: ‘Even this is one sermon too many!’”


How was I ever on the fence about wanting children? Thank God for my wife, who always knew she wanted to be a mother. My children are my books, I always thought to myself. But now my words are uncontained, spun out in every which way, like threads pulled from a blanket. It is the very beginning, I suppose, of my writing decline...


Click here to finish reading my "Let Us Pray" column in the June/July 2022 issue in the St. Anthony Messenger.

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