We all begin in mystery.
When I was smaller than the period at the end of this sentence, my life’s story began. All that I cosmically and genetically am was within me, was me, as I, full of living potential, floated in dark and secret depths. The deepest secrets of my body (like that one broken gene), were always mine, were always me, always my story, always inexorably the truth of who I am.
And what was this truth of my fully-conceived identity to me then? What is it to me now? Nothing, except me. Everything that is me. It made no difference to my beginning except that it was my beginning, and given any other beginning I would not be me. My brown eyes, my freckled skin, my progressive motorneuron disease, my curiosity, my poetic sense, my easy smile — all there, all me, waiting to be revealed to others beyond, but always within me, for me, set into being and given unique existence, as is every particular living thing, by Being Itself, the Uncaused Cause.
Before my mother knew me, I was deeply known by the Unknown Knower who holds the far-flung galaxies, bumblebees, and ecstasies in existence, my heart beating and neurons firing before my presence was even felt within her own body. I developed and grew hidden from the world, every arm bud, toe bud, and taste bud unfolding in size and shape as I clung to the sustaining nest of the womb, living fully my life.
What did I know then? Sunlight, glowing red through uterine wall, radiated beauty to my inchoate eyes. Tastes and fragrances sipped and swallowed filled my body and impressed upon my growing memory, forming my hungers and desires. Murmurs and muffled music waved through my watery world and washed upon tiny eardrums newly learning to receive. Before I ever heard the sound of my own crying, I knew the sounds of home and lullaby and bedtime story, forming my preferences and comforts. Before I ever saw the clear light of day or breathed in the air of the world, I slept and woke and slept and dreamt and woke and stretched and danced. (I danced.)
Who was I before I was born?
I was me. I was me, as surely as the day is the day before the morn.
Growth, as necessary as greening of grass and swirling of storms, compelled me, propelled me to leap, like flame from the burning, and change space — the inner instinct and urge to transition, to graduate, pushing me beyond boundaries to continue my unfolding. With effort, struggle, and pain I entered into the world of bright, brash, and busy, no longer floating and warm but heavy and cold, shivering and whimpering in the new, glaring place, where those who were waiting to catch me were staring with wonder, seeming amazed that I was me at all.
“Here she is!” they shouted, as if I had not been before. That day they marked on the calendar, that day they named me, from that day forth I was considered me. Surely, my mother knew better, my mother who had held me for so long, so intimately close to her heart that it’s beating was the very first song I knew, the very rhythm of my first thoughts. Surely, my life, my worth, was not determined by my birth, my appearance, nor would it be by my future ability or behaviors in the air, but by my existence, my being, my uninterrupted life — a life that began in mystery … as in mystery I will have my end.
I know that I belong to the mysterious life that is beyond the invention and convention of mere mortals of the earth, who might blindly believe that I didn’t exist before birth.
In the beginning was me, with no measuring sticks or transactions, existing for existence, because the Infinite Creator willed that it should be so and made room for my story to unfold. Why would I be at all, if a greater, all-knowing source had not already divinely declared, by the very act of Creation, that sheer and particular existence is wholly lovable and beautifully right — had not already determined that I was exquisitely more than good enough?
© 2021 Christina Chase
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.