Life and love: two little words full of wonder and pain, mystery and adventure. There's nothing like a brush with death to put a person in a reflective mood.
In this podcast episode, I was nearly 9 months pregnant when an icy bridge sent me sliding full speed off the Richardson Highway in Valdez, Alaska. Rolling over and over down the embankment and into the brush, the bang! bang! bang! of each flip sending Jeep parts and glass flying, I had one thought: "Don't hurt the baby. Don't hurt the baby. Don't hurt the baby."
Evolutionary biologists say my reaction was an instinctive drive to continue the species. From virus to intelligent ape, at its core every living thing just wants find its own niche where it can reproduce like crazy.
That's okay with me, because I'm on the intelligent end of the spectrum. That intelligence allows me to wonder at what a blessing it is to experience this complex mystery of life--what it is, how it works, why we scrabble so desperately to hang onto it, and why we sometimes give it away in a heartbeat for someone else.
Is love a chemical cocktail of hormones that drive us to act in ways we call altruistic, brave, self-sacrificing? Maybe. And that's okay with me too. Because that would make it the starter fluid for all the good and beautiful things humans have brought to this world.
When I see the amazing wonders of the world and the people I get to share it with, I have to say "Thank You" to a higher power. Maybe we all have different understandings of God because our lives and loves are different, but that's okay with me too.
So in this holiday season, gather with your loved ones and tell them you love them. Give thanks for the life you've been able to share with them.
And in the coming new year, remember that everybody is somebody's baby. Don't hurt the baby.