Your mom asked Grandma Ellie and me to write down some thoughts for you on the occasion of your very first birthday on this planet—so here goes!
First, congratulations on having already come this far! It is no mean feat to have navigated that first year of life, and it has been a joy for us to watch you change and grow so fast. You have been gifted with a truly beautiful face, an engaging character, and what we can already recognize to be a sharp intelligence. May you use them wisely to find your way to happiness in life.
It pains me to know that we human beings of generations past have failed to create the peaceful, generous, loving world that you deserve to inherit. We have left an awful lot of work for you to do. Without wishing to sound ghoulish at this Halloween season, I have to say that by the time you are old enough to read these words it is entirely probable that I, your grandpa, will have moved on to whatever awaits us after this life on earth.
True Buddhists—and Buddhism is the only religion that makes sense to me, even though I have not yet accepted all its principles—believe that we are reborn into a new and different life after death, according to how we have lived our previous lives. That may be so. I honestly don’t know. But if this is true, it’s my belief that you, Luka, must have earned good merit in an earlier existence in order to come to us as such a beautiful new human being.
I trust that this life will give you the opportunity to learn to know yourself, to serve your fellow human beings, to respect and take care of the planet on which you live, and to be generous with your love; and in this way find your way to real and lasting happiness.
These thoughts reach you with much love from,
Your Grandpa Peter