This blog post from Matt Gemmell might be my favourite blog post in years. It has everything that has made Matt Gemmell one of my favourite online writers (and novel writers) in the last 10 years: eloquent prose, honesty, some abrasive elements, and in the end, pure transparency. I had shivers and a tear drop by the time I reached the end last night.
In reality, I doubt Matt and I would get along in real life. He doesn’t appear to have much respect for a few elements of life that I hold dear — namely faith and family (though the latter may be changing soon for him, perhaps?) — but that doesn’t stop me from wishing I could join him for a beverage to pick his brain. There are smart people on all sides.
I want to comment on two specific things.
First, Matt’s comment:
I’ve never wanted kids. My professed position was ambivalence, and my interpretation of that position was that there are really only two answers: Definitely Yes, or anything else which equated to No. Perhaps that was naive.
I applaud Matt for throwing in that last disclaimer clause. I’m not sure if anyone could rationally want children — they are incredible disruptive, time-consuming, patience-testing, virus factories that rock every core bone of your body and life. I don’t think I wanted to blow my life to bits when Jac and I decided we wanted a family.
But having a family is one of the most selfless acts one can perform. The day your child is born, you go from living for yourself to living for someone else. You mature from living for now to living for tomorrow. You transition from working for me to working for legacy.
Children have this way of bringing out the most loving elements of even the coldest people. This little story from Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is perfect:
Dr. Stephen K. Sproul, a veterinarian in Raytown, Missouri,…He told one of our classes: There were six or seven clients waiting when a young woman came in with a nine-months-old baby and a kitten. As luck would have it, she sat down next to a gentleman who was more than a little distraught about the long wait for service. The next thing he knew, the baby just looked up at him with that great big smile that is so characteristic of babies. What did that gentleman do? Just what you and I would do, of course; he smiled back at the baby. Soon he struck up a conversation with the woman about her baby and his grandchildren, and soon the entire reception room joined in, and the boredom and tension were converted into a pleasant and enjoyable experience.
Children have a way of lighting up one’s world. They are some of the greatest gifts from God. They will change who you are, for the better.
Matt finishes his post thusly:
Miracles don’t happen — they don’t exist, after all — but life is complex enough to allow for some flexibility every now and then.
It can happen. It does happen.
I certainly don’t agree with the premise of this statement, but that doesn’t mean there’s even an ounce of malice when I say this:
Congratulations Matt and family. I simply could not be more happy for you and your wife. May you be blessed with happiness and health, both now and when your wonderful package arrives in September.