When I was 14, my high school English teacher assigned me with the task of giving a presentation on Plato’s Parable of the Cave. I haven’t been the same since. All of my favorite stories – no, more than that – my strongest beliefs about who I am – can be traced back to the same universal principles of Plato’s allegory which I interpret rather simply to tell us: life on earth is a mere shadow compared to our true existence.
Today, I’ve just come across this . . .
“. . . story Henri Nouwen tells about twins having a conversation in their mother’s womb: The sister asks her brother, “Do you believe there is life after birth?” Her brother says, “Are you crazy? There’s no way! This is all there is. All we can do is enjoy, as best we can, this dark and cozy place, and cling to this chord that feeds us.” But his sister says, “That’s just it! Don’t you think this chord, and everything that comes to us through it, is coming from somewhere? There has to be something else! I can feel it in my bones; a place with light and laughter, with love and a new, higher level of understanding and freedom of movement.” After some silence she says, “And you want to know something else? I think there’s a mother!” Her brother explodes, “What are you talking about? Are you nuts? I have never seen a mother and neither have you! Who put that idea in your head? This place is all we have!” But she couldn’t let it go. “Don’t you feel these squeezes that come from time to time?” “Yeah, so?” “I know they can be uncomfortable, sometimes even painful, but I think they’re there to get us ready for another place, one much more beautiful than this, a place where we will see our mother face to face, feel her arms around us, a place where we will finally understand everything we’re going through in here. I believe there is life after birth.””