This letter is a compilation of four, written to my family members in celebration of Christmas and thankfulness for the gift they are to me.
In the beginning, it was there.
It was there–at the razor’s edge: that infinitesimal instant between nothingness and creation, at the flash of brilliance so fierce no universe could contain it.
It was there–as light and fury and elements yet unformed flew outward at velocities without limit, hurtling from the center towards destinations yet unknown–but to One.
It was there–as suns nascent and immense, coalesced from blue-white clouds, purity of energy become forges of creation, gathering to themselves their anvils of yet-unseen wonders.
It was there–as spheres formed in subservient orbits, obsequious to their newfound masters, ablaze with the raging inferno born of lightspeed journey to destined repose.
It was there–as continents split and drifted, crusted craft navigating their way through molten seas, divining stars yet barely formed.
It was there–deep in the earth–fused by forces immeasurable, fires unthinkable, pressures unbearable, ordering its scattered atoms to hardened lattice and crystalline clarity.
It was there–discarded by ancient fools as curious oddities, worthless beyond some measure of inspection.
It was there–a secret treasure, entombed in base elements, formless in shape yet priceless in potential.
In the beginning, it was there–the treasure of eons, the Jewel of great worth.
The Jeweler caresses his find, scooped from the earth, envisioning in its soiled soul a masterpiece of light and beauty. Each cut is imagined, planned yet predicated by events and energies of ancient millennia. Were this stone sentient, hardened in darkness and molded by forces unimagined, the brutal shearing would be agonal, as faces held dearly fly distant to reveal still-unsung beauty. Each facet–lovingly crafted, precisely chiseled–brings forth some new unspoken glory, some aspect anticipated yet astonishing still in its surprise and wonder.
The rough shape forms slowly, revealing in hewn form only the coarsest image of the Designer’s thoughts. Imperfections appear: some to be sundered, yet others multiplying the beauty and infinite variance of darkness made light. This stone, this jewel–like all others–is unique in synthesis yet designed for one purpose: to radiate the light within, to carry the brilliance of that instant before time existed, when the Voice of Light spoke softly and creation rushed forth.
And you, my most precious of treasures, are that Jewel.
To my wife:
You were there, in the mind of God, long before time and thought existed.
You were there, in the moving of Spirit, as creation spun forth in its wildness and majesty.
You were there, by the gentle hand of God, moved silently by hope and hardship, grace and grief, drawing us softly, inexorably toward oneness of spirit.
You were there, in the beginning, when I, without direction or purpose, found my course steadied and my orbit set.
You were there, through the darkness, with pain your companion, fury your friend, confusion your compass–yet faithfulness your light.
The Jeweler has chosen us two–each common stones of lesser measure–to create in one something greater than two. He has given to me in you a precious jewel, magnificent in its brilliance and beauty, reflecting the luster of His light within. We have by turns sharpened the other’s facets, hewing away rough edges, making angular and sparkling that once muted and smooth. And so we become, by timeless progress, the Jewel the Designer seeks, through fusion of spirit and heart, becoming His prize.
It is with joy unspeakable that I share such union, such life, such wholeness, such love.
It is with hope unshakeable that I share both life and eternity with you.
It is with love beyond measure that I thank Him who has bestowed on me such priceless treasure, this Jewel of great worth.
To my son:
Born in storm of pain and loss, my hand raised high in defiant defeat, you were a flash of light in that darkness of time, a promise of hope, a future of brilliance. I held you in my arms, drawing you close, seeing in your face my future, yet far brighter than I could ever hope. I watched you grow in quiet wonder, hurtling toward your destiny in outer peace and inner passion.
Our journeys grew separate, as I the fool in wisdom sought that which cannot endure, and you by distance and destiny sought light in loneliness. Each heard in our music the song of the spheres, hoping by chords and cadence to find in each other the harmonies of our hearts. Yet our pilgrimage was long, and painful, each through the darkness of coldest space. Could I replay those years, when you were hurt so deeply and I so foolish, I would do so gladly–but ours is not to relive the journey, desirable though that be, but to move in harmony with the present, and grow in grace, and strength, and love, in the places where we now find rest. And so, our orbits are again entwined, as they ever were, drawn by the gravity of service and care.
You, my son, my firstborn, my namesake: you are my pride, my passion, my treasure beyond words. In you is the heart of love, the tenderness of spirit, the quiet depths of eternity and time, the joy, the humor, from which springs the greatest works of Him who designed you. Never could a man be more blessed than to have such a son, and I shall thank Him evermore for such a priceless jewel.
To my oldest daughter:
In gentleness and peace you came into this world, a gift beyond measure to me. Your generous spirit and joyful soul were evident from your earliest days, gifted as you were with tenderness and love for others. Yet deep within that heart, so filled with love for man and beast, was a fire of determination and purpose–sparkling, brilliant even–hurtling you toward destinies unknown yet surely glorious.
I watched you grow with great love–yet in my blindness turned away, to follow that which is ephemeral and without substance, neglecting that of priceless worth. Those years, those wasted years, will remain a loss irretrievable, a casualty incalculable, an emptiness which cannot be filled. Could I travel through time, and undo the past, I would do so at any price–yet the Designer by His grace has bestowed on me the joy of watching you, the child of joy, become a woman of strength, and integrity, and love, and conviction. No greater gift, no finer jewel–nor one less deserved–could be bestowed on a man–fool that I am–in a thousand lifetimes.
To my youngest daughter:
A fire burned brightly at your birth, a singular star in the heavens–passionate, deep, powerful, brilliant. I knew that day as I held you in my arms that God had poured out His blessings on earth, that greatness would surround you and accompany you all your days. Your journey has been often dark and difficult, pierced with pain, yet shining shards of glory have never ceased to burst forth from the forge of your suffering, transcending the darkness with light unparalleled.
You have since your first day been my pride and my precious one, filled with the power of life, a jewel of great brilliance and beauty. You grew and prospered, a bright star always in my heaven, leaping to heights unbounded with grace and elegance. If you could but know your own passion, your gifts, your beauty so deep and glorious, there would be no worlds you could not conquer, no universe beyond your grasp.
Yet I have bound this very power, as foolishly I neglected that which is precious in you for baser, empty baubles of no value. Would that I had power to change such a fate, bending backwards the hands of time to start anew, to be fresh in my awe and admiration of you and all you would become and ever be. Such gifts are not granted to man–but by God’s grace I have been given this gift: that you are still my prize, my jewel, the daughter whom I love and cherish. And from this day forward shall I ever treasure this priceless jewel, this gift of God in you.