Book Notes: The Child
My daughter was in her high chair. I was watching her eat. She was the most miraculous thing that had ever happened in my life. I liked to watch her even when she smeared porridge on her face or dropped it meditatively on the floor. My eye came to rest on the delicate convolutions of her ear – those intricate, perfect ears. The thought passed through my mind: “No, those ears were not created by any chance coming together of atoms in nature (the Communist view). They could have been created only by immense design.” The thought was involuntary and unwanted. I crowded it out of my mind. But I never wholly forgot it or the occasion. I had to crowd it out of my mind. If I had completed it, I should have to say: Design presupposes God. I did not then know that, at that moment, the finger of God was first laid upon my forehead.
–Page 16 of Witness
I have to confess that I have really been looking forward to this section. In this weeks reading, we come across Chapter 6 The Child. This is the smallest chapter to date. With most of the other chapters we have read up till now are very long, and are broken up by smaller sections. This chapter is slightly longer than two pages. Yet, Chambers felt these few pages were important enough to break into their own section.
Earlier in Witness Chambers explains that Communism requires atheism. You can not believe in God and be a good communist. The Communist believes that man is the smartest of all beasts and is free to do whatever is necessary to further the aims of Communism. Torture, murder, and worse are all allowed. In some cases they are even required. In the forward to Witness (entitled Letter to My Children) Chambers explains, “A Communist breaks because he must choose at last between irreconcilable opposites – God or Man, Soul or Mind, Freedom of Communism.”
So what causes a communist to break with the communist faith? What causes an atheist to discover God? From the reading, I have to believe Chambers journey was at least in part due to his own children. I have two children of my own and am convinced they were both blessings from God. Becoming a parent has taught me many things, as it also taught Chambers many things I am sure. However, in Chambers case, he was lead from the darkness into the light.
The Communist party frowned on allowing their members to have children. Chambers himself agreed with his brother who said, “For one of us to have a child would be a crime against nature.” Even when his wife became pregnant he felt this was true. Chambers argues that there was enough misery in the world and in his own family for it to be wrong for him to have children. And yet, Chambers longed for children. He was able to convince his “boss” in the apparatus to allow him and his wife to keep the child.
Chambers writes of walking the streets waiting for his child to be born. The childbirth itself was apparently very difficult for his wife. He went to look at their baby in the nursery and returned to his wife. He then writes:
I went back to my wife who was no longer only my wife but the mother of our child — the child we all yearn for, who, even before her birth, had begun, invisibly, to lead us out of that darkness, which we could not even realize, toward the light, which we could not even see.