A Dream of the Future (with Babies)

Yesterday, the coffee shop was busy. Most of the tables were full when I came in. People sat at computers, talked on phones, read books, talked across tables. I sat at the counter with no plan. It was thinking time.

After a while, a group of young women gathered nearby. Maybe a book club or something like it. What caught my interest was the infant that one of them had brought.

Tiny, with big eyes and lots of hair, it was unanticipated and fabulous. I wanted to hold it and whisper,

You are splendid. You hold the keys to a world that I cannot imagine. Make it beautiful. Make it phenomenal. Abolish the accumulation of wealth. Instead, accumulate joy, community, and awe. Recapture what we’ve given away.

Babies are magic. Within themselves, they hold immeasurable power for healing, completely unaware.

Put a newborn into anyone’s arms and watch the transformation. Babies harbor peace, comfort, innocence . They are the ultimate good on this planet.

When you hold an infant, you cradle all of the potential in the universe, and if you’re my age, you understand what it means.

You look into those eyes and pray that they never see things that your eyes have. Your heart breaks and rejoices at the same time. You smile and coo and whisper. Sometimes you cry.

My grandfather was born in 1893. His father would have been born in the time of Lincoln, just after the Civil War.

Picture a young man in that day, twenty-five years old, sitting beside a river, watching the water flow. It’s a spring day. Chores are done and there is time for leisure. He imagines the flow of time, forward a hundred years. What does he see?

Maybe he imagines horseless carriages, machines that record and play music, harvesting machines. Those are the things that would affect his days.

Do you think he sees Old Glory, with fifty stars, planted on the moon? Or homes lit with a constant flow of electricity? Carriages that fly faster than sound? Tiny boxes that let us see and converse with people on the other side of the planet? How can he?

If such unimaginable things have happened in the past hundred years, what the next hundred will hold would certainly eclipse anything that my mind can conjure.

That potential, I know, lies in every baby that is born. Let us cherish them, raise them up above where we are, and teach them ways of happiness, cooperation, vision, labor, and brotherly love.

This is my dream.