Author and poet Carl Sandburg wrote: “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”
My wife and I got the inestimable privilege last week of flying to Pittsburgh to meet our first grandchild – Miriam. Only my journalistic training to strive at all times for objectivity prevents me from saying that Miriam, sweet Miriam, is an 8-pound, 6-ounce package of Love Potion No. 9.
Oh, have you seen the pictures? I have a few.
It’s been many years since I’ve held an infant – a niece or a nephew – for more than five minutes.
The amazing thing,of course, is the sweetness of it all. Miriam’s soft skin is the Holy Grail of late-night infomercials that promise to turn back the clock of a lifetime of UV rays with a dab of miracle, anti-aging cream.
Her fingers and fingernails are exquisite. Her eyebrows and eyelashes are delicate.
I know she can’t really focus on objects outside of herself yet, but what fascinated me was what her eyes did when she had them closed. They rolled around as if she were in REM sleep.
What was she dreaming about?
Last week, our nation once again retreated into opposite camps as Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
The evening before the inauguration, I went to a small neighborhood restaurant-bar – Hog’s Head Bar and Grill – to pick up some takeout comfort food.
There were plenty of Pittsburgh Steeler fans in the bar, wondering what might happen to their team in the upcoming AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots.
As I waited for our dinners, a patron asked the bartender to turn on the 5 o’clock news.
“Oh, no,” she said. “If I turn that on, it’s going to be Trump did this and Obama did that. They’re going to talk about why the Steelers fined Antonio Brown for Facebooking Coach Tomlin in the locker room. The news is so bad that on a nice, 60-degree day in January, they’ll talk about why it’s going to be 20 with snow and ice tomorrow. I’ve had it with the news.”
People are legitimately worried about our country’s divisions, and yet, as with Miriam, there is hope.
My wife and I stayed in a hotel located close to several Pittsburgh hospitals. Pittsburgh is a medical hub, drawing patients from around the country.
The hotel has a special mission because it caters to families preparing for a loved one’s surgery. We stayed there because it is the closest hotel to our son’s and daughter-in-law’s house.
At breakfast one morning, a husband and wife were seated at a small table. The wife held out her hand to her husband across the table, and they joined hands and prayed.
A short time later, the hostess making sure the breakfast buffet line stayed hot approached the couple.
“I’m praying for you,” she told them. “I hope everything goes well today.”
I thought to myself, what a privilege it must be to work at a job where your presence, your kind words and your prayers can calm people who are anxious about the things that matter. That is the stuff of sweet evangelization.
Miriam watched the inauguration from my lap. A week later, the Washington, D.C., Mall would be home to hundreds of thousands of people marching for life.
I don’t know about anything else, but Miriam is making America great again.
Peter Finney Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.