On the Corner

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by Robert Docter – 

At 6:09 p.m. on the evening of May 12, 1997, Ryan Matthew Mundy was born in St. John’s hospital, Santa Monica, California to Sharon Diane Docter and Norman Douglas Mundy.

Dear Ryan,

Welcome to our world! I’m glad you’re just you–nobody else–just you. You’re less than a week old, but we’ve already bonded. I held you in my arms, locked against my chest, and felt your warmth and your energy. As you slept I sensed the cadence of your heart and the rhythm of your lungs. I held you in the palms of my two hands and looked into your face and watched it reflect the sounds of your first home. I realized suddenly that I was holding life. My hopes and dreams for you soared as thoughts from my heart sped heavenward.

I already know we’re going to get along. I think you’re a very independent kind of guy. Your mother arrived on Father’s Day–a special Father’s Day present. You missed Mother’s Day by 18 hours and nine minutes, thus making it clear that you make your own schedule.

You’ve also made that very evident over the past few days as you demonstrated your assertion. I think you understand what assertion means–to stand up for your rights and to make your needs known. You’ve certainly done that. It’s rare that I ever see anyone take over a room as fast as you do.

Here are some thoughts about life which now begins for you, and which I leave you as a gift.

Seconds, minutes and hours move in a steady, orderly fashion around the clocks of our lives, but time itself is not a constant. It moves in fits and starts, sometimes slow, sometimes fast, according to the meaning we assign it. As we get older it seems to travel with the speed of light. The challenge you face at any age is to seize the moment and make it yours. Try to live in the present while learning from the past and planning for the future. Try always to remember that life takes place in the present, that all too brief moment in time between the future and the past.

Life, Ryan, is for the living. It involves strong feelings and hard choices in response to significant questions. Here are some I continue to ponder in my life.

Who am I? It sounds deep. It isn’t. You are Ryan Matthew Mundy and everything that name implies. You insisted on having a name before you would enter the birth canal, and at the exact moment your parents finally decided upon a name, you triggered events within your mother which led to your birth. This was your first step toward identity. You liked the name they selected and you decided to “seize the moment.” Seek to re-establish that identity at each stage of your life as you take care with whom and with what you identify.

What will I be? What you will learn from your parents is that it’s okay to change. Their lives have not been linear. That’s good. Flexibility increases choices and adds power. It also adds a little frustration to the decision making process. The answer to the question “What will I be?” concerns much more than the line of work you will enter. It concerns what kind of person you will be–the values you will live by; the degree and direction in which you develop your mind; whom you will choose to emulate; how you will spend your resources.

Who/what will I worship? Everyone worships something/someone. Some actually try to worship themselves. They make themselves god, and their sacrament is pleasure. They never seem to find it. Some don’t know the focus of their worship. Their temple is their bank or their bar or their entertainment.

Worship is what you work at with that part of you that is spiritual. Their worship never seems to yield spiritual growth. Introduce yourself to God who loves you and who created you. God is a giver–not a taker. He gave us his own Son. He gives us our world, our lives. He gives us love and hope and joy and peace, and all he asks is that we don’t ignore him.

Welcome, Ryan. We’re all glad you’re here.

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