Gene Pools, Golf, and God
My son turned sixteen yesterday. To celebrate, I pulled him out of school (Under "Reason" I wrote "Want to) and we went golfing. It was a glorious day in Michigan with temps in the high 70's and the golf course was almost empty. Neither he nor I are great golfers (my swing: imagine a man trying to put on a shirt while being attacked by bees) but we enjoy the time together... and being able to hit something repeatedly with a stick without being in legal jeopardy is kind of nice, too. We talked about cars, the fact that neither of us can put (if you think the LORD moves in a mysterious way, wait until you see me putt!), friends, and the marine corps.
If you saw me beside my son you would probably not think we were related. He is six feet four inches, size 15 feet, and all muscle. I am... not. Okay, quick story. I have always told people that I was five eight and three quarters because those three quarters were very important to me. Last year I went to the doctor and found out the Lord had stolen my change! Stop laughing. I can hear you. Anyway, Duncan is an exceptionally calm and steady fellow, which is good when you are a veteran karate guy, good shooter, and a generally non-girly guy. I love him... but I'm not sure what is going on here.
Let me explain. I am a scientist. I know stuff about the genetic code. Neither my wife nor I come from families that are tall, strong, and only one of us came from good looking people (you get three guesses). How did this happen? Did God look at us and say, "All right, time for a little chlorine in the gene pool?" If so, then that's fine with me.
When I was a little boy they told me that no two snowflakes were alike. I didn't believe it then and don't now (c'mon people -- who's checking???). I also know that the best guess for number of atoms in the universe is 10 to the 60th power. That's a lot. However, in the genetic code of two people, we can make 10 to the 128th power people without making one duplicate. Wow. God built a system where dead ends don't have to occur (except with excessive inbreeding. You are clued into your approach of this danger zone by hearing kids in the mall call out "Uncle daddy, uncle daddy!").
I used to work in West Virginia (great folks, beautiful mountains). The university there is very engineer intensive and, so, we had lots of engineers attend our church. Sometimes two would meet and fall in love and get married. Later, after running computer models and business plans past each other, they would decide to have a child. I would inwardly groan, knowing what was coming next. Sure enough, in a few years they would come in and say there was something wrong with their child. They tried to teach it French, had flashcards of European composers, and sang kiddy songs about Calculus but the kid didn't get it. I would look and then and say, "There is nothing wrong with your child. It is just that God looked at you two and said, "Whoa, not doing THAT again!", and made your kid instead."
It would happen the other way, too. Sometimes refugees from the sixties would come out of the mountains (still hiding from the draft?) and sit there with their John Lennon glasses, Birkenstock sandals, army jackets with peace symbols, and various wildlife in their hair and point to their four year old kid sitting beside them (who would be in a three piece suit reading the Wall Street Journal) and say, "Dude! Like, there's something wrong, and stuff, with our kid, you know?" I would look at them and say, "Well, Dweezil and Moon Unit, God just decided to clean out the gene pool and start over..."
My son is not me. He is tall and strong and vital. Girls look at him (it is a point of pride in my life that I was never the cause of anyone's stumbling into lust...) and admire him. He will not follow me into the pulpit or the lab. He is planning on finding an ROTC program and becoming an officer in the Marines. Okay, son, that's fine. Whatever God made you to be -- be that. Anything else is a demotion. I'll be over here, proud, jealous, happy, fading, beaming.... but I promise you: I got your back.