There is a moment
when egg and sperm become a fertilised cell.
Another before fission,
before one cell becomes two.
Another before the embryo becomes a foetus,
Before the first heartbeat,
the first formation of the brainstem,
the first input from developing eyes and nerves.
Until it ceases to be a foetus,
becomes an unborn child,
still entirely I
before the awareness that is we?
Flesh is translucent to light, carries sound.
The womb is warm, with room to move.
The inborn baby kicks,
sucks, feels, sees, hears.
It learns existence is co-existence long before birth.
Do we re-create this moment
in the fleeting moment of waking from sleep?
Cogito ergo sum – I think therefore I am,
flees before I am therefore there is other.
The awareness of one’s body in the world,
when I becomes we.
Existence is a common possession,
without which there could be no we.
It gives us our sum – our I am
our summa – our totality.
It sustains and guards us.
Language can be traced back
across continents, across times.
Sustain can mean feed
or provide continuing support.
feed and guard have the same root PA
from which by different routes
we get paternal and father.
There is a paradox.
The first father of whom we become aware
is our mother.
We co-exist in a world interdependent with us;
in which we live and breathe and have our being,
our all in all.
From the heart of I
to the farthest bounds of all our sight and knowing,
all that provides intimacy,
the wonder of our existence;
the familial closeness of child and parent,
within which we are constrained
calls for humility,
honour, respect and reverence;
all steeped in holy awe.
We renew it in our waking moments each day.
The I that seemed to be at its heart
is an echo of a greater I who keeps it all,
in whom we place our trust
our hopes for the coming day,
the feeding and guarding that a father provides:
Our Father …