August 3–Return Again–To Who We Are

One of the poignant phrases in this song is the call to return again to who we are.  Who we are, who I am, may be the central human question as we each pursue meaning and truth in our lives.  I have often reflected, both privately and publicly, on my experience as a new father (each of three times) when our child was placed in my hands just moments after being born.  In each of those instances, I had the experience of looking into the face of this child and finding something I had not anticipated:  the deep sense of the presence of Someone.  That Someone was already there, present in this tiny human being.  This Someone came into our lives, into our hands with an Identity that belonged to them.

I think in general that parents expect to shape or at least have a shaping effect on their children’s lives and who they become, and we do.  I am not so sure, though, that the effect we have is the one that we think that we are supposed to have.  Here’s how I see it now.  A child comes into the world with some Being, some Identity all their own.  The child is already a Someone.  If I recognize that early, then my work as a parent is more about tending and honoring who this Someone is and helping that Someone find their way in this world.  If, on the other hand, I do not recognize that Someone is already here in this child, I may take on burdens that are not mine to bear.  I may feel that I have to make this child into someone–of my own dreaming, of my own fearing, of my own design.

It’s my own estimation that too much of the latter approach happens, and has happened to most of us.  Even with my own first experience, looking into each of my children’s eyes for the first time, I am afraid that I over did the effort to make our children into somebodies when, in fact, they came into the world as Someones.

Why bother with all of this psychological rooting around into parenting?  Because at some point most of us begin to discover this truth about ourselves, that underneath the masks that we have learned to wear, trying to be someone else’s version of who we are, we begin to remember that we came into the world already a Someone.

Return again, return again
Return to the home of your soul
Return again, return again
Return to the home of your soul
Return to who you are
Return to what you are
Return to where you are
Born and reborn again.

We parents do the best we can.  And, we can join our children and all the other souls around us in returning, again, to who we really are, to who we have always been.

Bob Patrick

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