These past few weeks I have struggled to find the “wonder” in our world.
Mass shootings in our public places, political division, cyber hate, covid rising, stocks crashing, gas prices through the ceiling! The world landscape doesn’t look much better. Putin’s war, North Korean missile tests, Japan’s assassin, food shortages, climate rising… Where do we find our optimism?
Reminds me of a song written by Billy Joel when Sean Lennon and a friend of his told Joel it was easier growing up in the 50’s than in the 80’s. The song, “We Didn’t Light The Fire”, is Joel’s rebuttal.
After 2 years of restricted travel, mask wearing, and lost friends, our “Wonder” was just about empty and we were wondering if it would ever return.
It arrived while we were in Munich.
Tired and bedraggled from 17 hours of travel, we were sleeping in our hotel room, the heavy blinds drawn to block out the annoying sun as we tried to reset our internal clocks. That’s when she arrived.
“She”, was a 3lb. human that we were not expecting until late July, this was May (though I still wasn’t sure what day I was on). Our hearts paused. “This can’t be”, “it is too soon!” “Is she okay?” “How is mom?”
Our world began to whirl in an already surreal setting. We were grandparents! The next days were conflicted as our minds toggled between Munich and a hospital in Birmingham.
Her fragile body wrapped in tubes, encased in an incubator, monitored, and protected by the saintly nurses of the NICU, she was protected from the outside world. As she took her tiny breaths, we held ours, hoping she had the determination to survive.
In late June we were finally able to meet our next generation. Holding her, looking into her eyes was overwhelming. I thought about the world she arrived in, and how we had hoped we would leave it better for her generation. That is when I realized the world has always been beset with strife. It is how we work together (or not) that measures a generation. As one issue is resolved, another appears, or the bar is raised.
Sawyer was determined to survive. The nurses of the NICU were determined to give her the best possible chances. What she and her generation do will set the stage for the next generation.
This is just how it goes.
As the song says, “We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning since the worlds been turning. We didn’t light it, but we tried to fight it.”
Our generation fought the fires lit by previous generations only to discover new fires to be fought. Perhaps they were always there but not visible through the smoke of the more immediate fires.
Let’s hope Sawyers generation has the determination to fight the fires we leave behind.
Sawyer, your Wonderland awaits!