Thinking about letting myself get into the christmas spirit tomorrow. Going to go get a tree and get some decorations up. I could have gone without Christmas this year, as I’m not really in the mood. I also have a hard time doing certain things in half measures, and Christmas is one of them. Either it’s extravagant hand crafted gifts for everyone or I phone it in completely. This year is a phone-in year, I think.
Thinking about christmas gets me thinking about christians, and although I am not religious I do agree with them on some fundamental principals. Abortion, for instance- I can’t help but return to the notion that it is simply wrong. Now, there’s plenty of other things wrong with the world, and it is not as though the yet-to-even-realize-consciousness victim of the procedure is the only party involved. We have a long history of arbitrating disputes between competing interests- the interests of a fetus, for example, in existing- vs a would-be parent in having to dump 18 years into facilitating that (and probably many more)- by way of simply observing who has the most power between the two, and letting that party decide who is to make the sacrifice so that one of the two parties can at least get what they want.
It happens all the time. Giant corporations shackle a slave workforce with golden handcuffs and milk their entire lives dry for their labor. A bigger and older sibling takes his younger brother’s lunch money every day and blackmails him into keeping it quiet. Jeffrey Epstein. Harvey Weinstein. The powerful prey on the powerless all day every day, and we look the other way.
It still doesn’t make it right. You know? It’s mostly a feeling, for me. In my mind, although I am different, I do not feel that much different now than when I was 30. Or 20. Or 12. Hell, even 5. Despite the changes over the course of my life, there is something about me that is…carried. A core of a person. A soul, perhaps. There will never be an occasion when I do not supremely enjoy strolls down warm foggy spring streets in the evening. I will never hear Miles Davis on the radio and turn it off (unless I have to go to bed).
Even though a fetus has not yet gotten to that point, it’s heartbreakingly close- relative to the infinity of nonexistence that preceded it- and absent intervention, it would one day have a favorite genre of music. It would have a face that was just its own. Interests, fears, a warm vitality. Every detail that makes everyone you’ve ever known unique, the seeming-but-not-actually-uniform “clump of cells” fetus is no exception. I think of how much I love my partner, and I think about someone- someday- feeling that same love and crushing appreciation for that person’s simple existence in life.
I get that the shackles of parental responsibility are debilitatingly terrifying, but these are much greater and more impactful effects that we realize with our handful of years to live.
It’s like we are worried that having kids will drain our future of meaning, when it is quite likely the only thing that can even provide it.