DISCLAIMER: This is not a Roe vs. Wade soap box! If you’re looking for controversy, this ain’t it!
I could be off base here, but I think most people who've not had the benefit of being born into wealth, if given a chance, would not choose the family they now have. Like most, what I may have opted for, would be based on affluence, privilege and geography.
When I hear the phrase 'A time to be born,' I can't help but reflect on that moment in most funerals when you're recapping the details of the deceased's life. You begin to compare it to Solomon's fourteen contrasting seasons and times—each serving a particular purpose. (see Ephesians 1-8) In fact, whenever my life seems halted in a juxtaposition, I think about these verses, wondering what phase I'm in and if I'm handling it with any grace at all.
My physical birth occurred in the summer of 1980, amid the dreaded hurricane season. And most times, my life felt stuck in that dynamic—a period of storms brewing in rapid succession. Still, like those disturbances, I'm convinced nothing could stop my arrival; it was simply my time.
Perhaps this is an appropriate time to note this caveat. Even if you take everything I say going forward literally, I want you to also contemplate the parallels and consider how they may apply to you.
Let's face it, many of us were not in our parents' plans. It was more like oops rather than yay! But that doesn't mean we're not supposed to be here. My arrival wasn't ideal by societal norms, and although my parents were unwed, I reckon the end justified the means.
We'll fast-forward to my teen years without rehashing all the gory details. While my biological parents did not raise me, one thing is sure, the shelter of a Christian home changed the trajectory of my life. By and large, my initial 'come to Jesus' moment was only the beginning.
My spiritual birth, at first, was more about proximity rather than dependency. The thing is, I was a high school student trying to balance individuality but still be inclusive. More often than not, this meant I was doing some real suspect things. Even so, revival after revival, I was present at every altar call. You better believe ya' girl was squeezing every ounce out of the 70 x7 forgiveness threshold.
It wasn't until one of my older sisters pulled me aside and said, "Listen, you don't need to get 'saved' every week." But in my naivety, I was thinking, "Yea, but you haven't heard the things I let slide from these lil' crusty lips!" #pottymouth
Even though I didn't go back to the altar (as much), it surely didn't mean I no longer needed to. You see, I was guilty of the first violation of being in control of my fertility, as Judge Lynn Toler would say. I was￼ constantly entertaining folks that had the potential to be deadbeat baby daddies. Truthfully, there was no due diligence on my part. And I was in constant danger of my good times morphing into a long, might I add, unwanted time.
My adulthood was not far removed from those adolescent years of constant altar appearances. I'd spent a lot of time trying to get a do-over (rebirth) at every turn. When it wasn't after messy relationships, it was a reset at the start of yet another new job. And I can't tell you how many times I had to change the address on my mail, 'cause sis was a professional mover. But can I tell you moving location doesn't change behaviour?
Honestly, there have been at least eleventeen-thousand moments where I sat at the edge of my bed thinking, "Yo, God, I gee!" And no, not in a suicidal sense, but merely settling in my dumbness and calling it a good time.
Life is a constant battle of beginnings and ends.
Anyhew, having my mind renewed, though, was a process rather than an encounter. You see, the older I got, the more I saw babies everywhere. I'm talking picture-perfect families being cranked out at alarming rates. And while it was easy to sink down a "Well, Lord, where's my family?" rabbit hole, the birth I began to think of had less to do with ten fingers and ten toes and more to do with purpose! "What testament existed that I could see myself in?" What could one look at and beyond any doubt see my DNA all in the fibre?"
More than being alive, I had to ask myself, "In all my years on the earth, what tangible thing had I birthed? What would I leave behind that signifies I was here?" Many of us love to think that God's 'be fruitful and multiply' command was solely about children, but the meaning goes much deeper. (see Genesis 1:28) But let's consider this command metaphorically.
Allow me to clarify—which of course, is not to be taken literally. It takes a dual effort to bring a child into the world. Even though we've grown accustomed to solo parenting, conception (reproduction) is impossible without joining two components—an egg and a sperm. "Was I here making lasting and meaningful connections or just carelessly having a series of one-night stands that would end in broken homes?" Translation: a series of projects started, but nothing ever finished.
I, for one, believed that childbirth should be a joyous and celebratory occasion, but that's not the case for many. For some, birth is a burden. While others experience pain during the process (pregnancy), many people experience distress in the aftermath (the nurturing). It's great to have an idea or a dream but execution, putting in the work to make it a success, and the sacrifices it calls for, ain't for the weak.
These paradoxes made me wonder, "Can there be creation without connection? And can creation thrive in the absence of difficulty?" My life was not short on pain, but what had it produced? Was I lending all this pain to purpose? Or did I convince myself this was pleasurable pain? 'Cause after a mother gets through the ordeal of labour, at least she has a child to show for it.
For a long time, I had this attitude of "I'm Miss Independent—hear me roar." There was nothing I couldn't do on my own. I didn't want ever to credit anyone for my successes. Whew, Chall! #rudeawakening
I now find it comical that anyone could fix their mouth to say they are self-made. To me, that is simply inaccurate. Not only did I need help, but I was constantly put in the position of having to ask for it! It's one thing for folks to offer, but when you have to humble yourself and talk to folks nice, it gives new meaning to 'say it with ya chest!'
If I take it back to the beginning, God said, "let us make man...." (see Genesis 1:26). The 'us' denotes even God wasn't alone. But there I was, doubling down that no one but God Himself would be able to say they were instrumental in anything I achieved. In retrospect, that notion was silly because after God said let us, in the very next chapter, He said, "it's not good for man to be alone." (see Genesis 2:18). None of it, 'life' that is, was ever designed to be a solo act.
I can give you scripture after scripture and quote after quote about the power of two. However, it's worth pointing out that if you choose to go it alone, you have very little chance of producing anything functional and well-rounded. And in case you believe you're special, I seriously doubt there will be any more immaculate conceptions this side of heaven.
What I'm saying to you is that whatever you're working toward would be easier achieved with a partner.
'Birth' marks the beginning of a thing. And in life, you'll encounter 'beginnings'' of many kinds. Still, for you to bear witness to anything being born, conception must first occur, and conception can't happen if there is no moment of coming together. Ask yourself, "Who am I prepared to create with?"
While you had no say in when you were born or who your parents joined their genetics with, you can choose who you create life with—be it literally or figuratively. More importantly, if all today's mayhem and madness don't prompt you to be more selective in your choice of partner (whether for life or in business), you're not paying close enough attention. Birthing is one thing, but what comes next is even more critical.
Being born is only the beginning of a more complex chain of events. "A time to be born" should not be the consequence of someone's happenstance but rather an event of a well-thought-out decision, followed by a series of intentional actions. For many people, the baby-making process was all fun and games, but when it comes to being a parent, the real question is, 'Now what?'
Although you can't undo where you've been born or who you've been born to, it is your responsibility to ensure that whatever comes from you isn't a stamp of regret but more like a seal of 'mission accomplished.' #thatsmineandammastickbesideem
All I'm saying is, "Make the right choice!"