The birth of our first grandchild, Clara, early Sunday morning here in Portland has left me elated and somber.
The joy is pictured in the photo, taken when she was a mere 10 hours old.
Clara arrives as I am well into the first year of my eighth decade. I've done a lot of soul-searching about aging, death and their mysterious meaning of late, but little Clara's arrival snapped me out of it.
Now I'm riveted on the equally mysterious beginning of life. Clara, like infants everywhere, inspires wonder. My wonder is two-fold: deeply spiritual and, alas, political and environmental.
These tender beings, clearly vessels of the Spirit, speak to the urgent need to heal the planet and drastically, radically, reform our political and economic systems. Innocent new life poses the question of the very meaning of life. It comes down to a question of values.
Some might even ask whether the planet can absorb yet another life like Clara's. It's a fair question, but I find it impossible even to consider as Clara and I stare into each others eyes — in wonder.
Here is the hope and challenge posed by small ones everywhere: Can we old — but not-so-wise — souls still make Earth habitable and hospitable, peaceful and spirit-nurturing for new lives like Clara's?