A Letter to the Child I Will Never Have
Some advice on life that I wish I could have given you.
It is with melancholy that I write these words, which you will never read. For some reason I have yet to discover, I woke up one day and felt your presence near me, asking for me to write.
Nor exactly do I know why. For years I wondered if you might be possible, only to decide that it was not meant to be. Why, only now, when I was at peace with this decision, have you decided to return to my thoughts? When I was younger, I thought I would have a child, even if the world did not seem to be a place that would allow me to be one, at least not with another man as my husband.
I sometimes think about what it would be like to have been born a bit later or to have made a few different choices. Would I have ended up adopting you? Would I have had you through a surrogate? Of course, if I had made different choices, I wouldn’t be me, now, the person writing these words.
I imagine, somewhere, in a parallel universe, there is another version of me with you. I hope that he/I is/am a good father to you.
Find Your Center
Inspired by these paternal feelings, I feel a compulsion to offer some advice about life. I suppose it’s a bit arrogant of me to do so, since we’ve never met. But it feels almost like you’re asking me to do so, for some as yet unspecified reason.
My sole piece of advice to you is to learn to dive so far beneath the surface of your being, past the choppy waves, deep into the dark trenches, further than the hidden caves, where you reach the point of utter silence.
There is a stillness there, often mistaken for darkness because it is not filled with the images of daily life.
It is often mistaken for emptiness because it seems like you can only get there by excavating yourself to the point that you worry you might be a hollow husk.
It is often mistaken for death, when in fact, it is the most life-affirming place of all.
That center is who you really are. Only you can find it. Only you. Not that you won’t rely on others along the way.
You see, one of the secrets to life is that you are never alone, and cannot do it on your own. Your life — who you are — is a web of connections, interactions, and relationships. You are the threads that you weave with every encounter.
Yet that is not the space of which I speak. You are those relationships, and something more.
So you must find guides, teachers, and companions who will support you as you go on this inner journey, which happens at the same time as your outer journey through the world.
Your Journey Is Unique
Do not try to replicate the protagonist’s journey, or mine, for no one’s path to their personal truth resembles another’s path.
As you meet people on your journey, as you are guided to dive ever deeper into your psyche, emotions, and all the memories contained in your body, you will come to realize that they have their own path, and cannot be forced to dive into their deepest realms. This is the choice we all must make, to go within, to know ourselves ever more deeply, with each moment that life gives us.
That silence at the center, that space of stillness within the center of so much activity, is not empty, but full and whole.
It is the treasure that so many people go in search of with treasure maps borrowed from others, not realizing there is no map to get you there. It is the relinquishing of a map, of a destination, of the very need to get somewhere, to arrive, that will show you where that silence resides inside you.
From there you will know the truth of who you are, and why God chose to shape you in the form you have taken. That is not up for debate. It is not a question for others to ask or answer. Your presence is not negotiable. But only you can answer why you exist.
Know, then, that there are no mistakes, you are not flawed, and yet you will have so much you want to change about you — until you find that center. Then, and only then, will you understand why all the “flaws” of your being, and all the “mistakes” of your life, were designed with such utter perfection to guide you, in their own way, to the truth of who you are.
You Will Be Amazed By Your True Self
The truth of who you are may surprise you. It did me. I thought I was here to write wonderful insights into stories about humans, from different lands, who spoke different languages, about the kinds of conflicts and dramas that humans have with each other, and what they tell us about what it means to be human. So I became a professor of Spanish literature.
When other questions called to me, about the nature of power and how we organize ourselves as people, I became a lawyer. There I wrote wonderful stories — judges call them “briefs” — about humans, about what happens to humans who fall into conflict with other humans, and how those conflicts might be resolved.
Along the way, other people showed up in my life to tell me that there was still more I wasn’t seeing, to dive deeper, to feel my emotions, to explore new adventures in new lands. I had some wild experiences, and began to forge relationships with still more human beings, from different lands, who spoke different languages, about what it means to be human. I became a spiritual author and a psychic channel. Now I write other kinds of stories about what it means to be human.
Along the way, I made choices, and the opportunities to have you, my unborn child, have dwindled. Does that make me selfish? Do you resent me for leaving you to an alternative dimension, and not this one, the one I inhabit? That is no doubt my projection. It is the part of me who wishes I had had the experience of being a father asking to be honored.
What would it have been like to hold you when you cried, to tell you I loved you, to tell you you mattered no matter how people saw you, to teach you to be okay with pain but still comfort you, to watch you grow and explore and ask questions, to see you reject me in search of your own truth and meaning?
I will never know that unique combination of joy and pain. That’s part of accepting who you are; some options you once imagined for yourself eventually fall by the wayside, and you must accept that too as part of God’s plan. So I can only write these words of advice about what it means to be human in this world, tinged as they are with a sense of grief for what could have been and will not be.
I close with this: Whoever and wherever you may be, know that you are loved more than you can imagine. Even as a dream unrealized, as a possibility unfulfilled.
You’ll know this too when you travel to that center. There you will understand what it means to love yourself completely, to revel in the magic of your being, and to fully grasp just how wonderful your true self is, however shocking and unorthodox it might be to you.
Once you are there, all the stories you’ve told yourself about who you were supposed to be will fall away, just as I have let go of my story about being someone who once taught literature, then practiced law, then wrote about life, who mourned the loss of a child he would never have and decided one day to write that child a letter so that he might set them both free.