What Happens When a Baby Is Born?

JAMES P LONG

 

Think of the Butterfly Effect in Chaos Theory: The most insignificant of things can have unimaginable impact on seemingly unrelated phenomena. All it takes is the flutter of a butterfly’s silken wings to change weather patterns, for instance. A poetic expression of the theory. Now imagine a newborn lying, dependent and powerless, poised to make history ...

Copyright © 2011 by James P. Long | Faith and Imagination

What happens when a baby is born? A possibility enters the world.


It would be easy to think that one more life joins the race and nothing more — another solitary face in the crush of humanity, known and loved by those who gave him birth, those who nurture her, but little impact on the wide, vast world.


What happens when a baby is born? A son enters a family. A daughter takes her place alongside a mother, a father.


What happens when a baby is born? Another child becomes a big brother. A sister has one more object of affection, care, competition.


What happens when a baby is born? Grandparents are ecstatic. Aunts and uncles celebrate. Friends who don’t even smoke accept the festive cigar. Pink balloons, or blue, dance on the end of strings, amid streamers and ribbons and gifts of good will.


What happens when a baby is born? Someone’s future friend begins the odyssey we call life.


And what will this child do? Grow. Learn. Achieve. Fail. Befriend. Love. Disappoint. Create. Invest. Build. Destroy. Discover.


Nothing this child touches will ever be the same. His mother will change. She will carry forever the imprint of this life on her soul. The child’s father will perceive things differently — will never think of himself in quite the same way again. Friends will be shaped, however subtly, by this one child’s influence.


Someday, somewhere, a chance encounter which lasts a mere moment will spark a change — a beginning — that spans a lifetime. Perhaps nothing more than a word spoken. A smile. A gesture. A hug. An encouragement. A word of warning. A bit of advice. But somewhere, sometime, a life-changing moment would not have happened had this life not begun.


What happens when a baby is born? Unparalleled good. Incomprehensible evil. A breakthrough. A cure. A masterpiece. A crime. The course of a nation redirected, the change leveraged by one life. We could think of a life touching a family, an influence felt in a sphere of friendships. But this is only the beginning.


Somewhere, in some small boat, in an infinite ocean, a child trails her fingers in the sea. A tiny wake of froth and bubble goes by unnoticed and forgotten — the waters scarcely disturbed.


But couldn’t something truly mysterious happen? Something of immeasurably greater consequence? Couldn’t one child’s touch change the very tides?


What happens when a baby is born? A possibility enters the world, and nothing is ever the same.