It was a cold, blustery day in December. A winter storm was in full force and it seemed as if we were inside a freshly-shaken snow globe. Everything was white, soft, pure and beautiful. A thick blanket of snow covered everything and dampened the sound of the world; suddenly noises were less sharp and the harshness of sound seemed a little softer.

We decided to take our kids to the doctor’s office for Natalie’s last check-up before she was to deliver Wyatt. As we sat in the examination room Natalie told the kids to quickly feel her tummy because baby was kicking. Each of my children ran to her, reached up and softly placed their hands on their mommy’s tummy. Tiny Mitch, barely able to reach, also felt Wyatt kick and he said excitedly, “I can feel it! He’s moving!” 

As I photographed this moment with my family I had a moment of truth. I marveled that we even had the capacity to create life - and what a life our children are. Each child, each human ever born is so remarkable in their uniqueness, identity and potential. Life is a miracle. 

Just recently I listened to a dialog among scientists who were discussing the origins of human consciousness. It is a problem of modern science that confounds even the most learned. Surely in the years ahead science will make discoveries that lend insight, but there will always be matters of the soul, of intuition and spirituality that transcend biology. We cannot expect to understand things of the soul without using the very instruments of the soul. In the same way we cannot see ultraviolet light through binoculars, we cannot see matters of the spirit through the wrong instruments. 

Life and the essence of consciousness is not only a miracle it is a mystery deeper than the oceans.

In the very moment I took this photo I was overwhelmed by the miracle of life; the miracle of these little children each of whom I loved so deeply – and yet another was on his way. I realized anew that life is a supernal gift. And though, through my lens, I saw my son who was fatally broken, my heart was filled with gratitude – for they were mine. My little miracles. My little ones. It was then I remembered we are all little ones. 

As I work through the grief of losing my precious son I am sometimes tempted to think life is on pause and will begin again after I have grieved. But then I realized, in another moment of truth, that kind of thinking is foolishness. Grief is part of life … no different than love, laughter, fear, doubt, faith, and so many other things. I don’t want to die one day and realize I never really lived … because my mind and heart were sleeping or I had my head in the sand. I have a life, but am I living?

I have discovered that fearlessly being in the moment and learning to accept it – whether terrible or lovely – that is living. 

Perhaps one of the great lies we tell ourselves is to believe we are only living when we are happy … as though unbridled joy, at the exclusion of sorrow, were our birthright. To the contrary, our birthright is to become more than we are – and like anything of value it won’t come easily. Personal growth and becoming will take effort, opposition and struggle – precisely why we are here in the first place. Surely happiness is part of life, but living also includes everything else. If we are waiting for bliss we are waiting to live. 

Life is a miracle and a gift. Living is, too. I intend on doing both as long as I am able to.