To My Son On His Birthday

Dearest Israel,

Today is your fifth birthday. Upon the cresting of the Sun `cross the high Noontide sky, you will be five years of age. Halfway to ten, and a quarter to twenty.

I write this letter to you from across the tremulous mists of Time. As I am writing, you are sitting in a chair in the Library of our house, your gaze falling carelessly out the back windows… the sunlight shining off of your fair skin.

As is the case with your elder sister, this past year has been a long season of changes and upheavals. Few of which that you have had much depth of comprehension, and others that have seemed to cut you to the quick. You are a sensitive boy, deeply empathetic towards others and attentive to your surroundings. I will always wonder what you will take away from the strange and turbulent times of your fifth year.

In appearance, you have lost much of the plump beauty of your toddler years – with the soft contours of your frame turning into the harder lines of a young boy. It seems that you are to be blessed with the heavy arms and strong hands of a Daniels as well as the broad shoulders and the powerful legs of a Prosser. While you remain well-above average in height, you have the lean muscle structure of a swimmer. I have also noticed, over these last twelve months, that your hair has darkened from tight coils of glimmering gold into curled waves of honey-brown.

Little has changed fundamentally in your fields of interests – you continue to hold a high fascination in areas pertaining to machines and construction. However, the focus has narrowed towards Robotics and Space Exploration. You also adore the antics of Buster Keaton (especially in The General) and are prone to hum the merry nickelodeon tunes that accompany his “silent” films. You readily enjoy games of numbers, words, and tricksy tangles of Logic. Were I to pigeonhole you into a career or vocation, I should say that I think you would make a fine Engineer of some sort; perhaps even work for NASA. Yet this, as fluid as the turning of the tides, is subject to the whims of childish fancy.

Emotionally, you are a tender and loving boy. You seek to form some manner of kinship with every person you meet, young and old. Every adult you come to know becomes another “aunt” or “uncle” and every elder at our church is greeted with the affection of a grandparent. …and yet, with the growth of a boy, comes also the emotional maelstrom of violence. Israel, you are “all boy” through and through, and I see the tiny spark of fury that sometimes twists your face into a mask of puerile rage. While it has not manifested itself in any tendencies of aggression with your siblings or peers, I sense the dark fire that glowers behind your eyes. Though I shall not provoke it to flame, I await every opportunity to guide its heat towards the low controlled burn of a disciplined and honorable man.

Your intellectual faculties continue to flower as well, my son. Though I do not wish to seem overly fawning in this regard, it is with a barely restrained enthusiasm that I consider the prodigious talents the LORD has given you. Indeed, I am yet to find a facet of learning in which you do not excel. You have a ravenous mind, sucking the marrow clean of a feast of study and coming back hungrier. Your mind is nimble and fierce, connecting disparate tangents and slicing through ambiguities. I confess, the potential you have shown, at still such a young age, utterly terrifies me.

As you grow older and, LORD willing, as your mind grows stronger, I will continue to force the challenges of the Christ upon you… that you shall either be made an ornament to the Church, and find true Wisdom at its origin, or flee from the brightness of Truth into the shadow of madness.

Many of your questions to me show a certain inclination towards religion, and every occasion of Baptism at our church has held you in rapt fascination… and yet, you remain a blind and impenitent child. Your knowledge of the Law and the Gospel is catechistic and by rote, but there is neither hatred of Sin nor dread of Death.

Your mother and I shall continue our labors to raise you and your siblings in His admonition, as you are our precious children… but, on this day of all days, I tell you that I would rather know you as my “Brother” in Jesus Christ than only a son in my own fallen image.

May it be so, my dear and sweet little boy, and soon. Until then…

I remain, your devoted and loving father…

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