Jewish World Review Sept. 15, 2004 / 29 Elul, 5764

Issac J. Bailey

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Tiny miracles remind us of life's choices | She's smiling at me for the first time, my 10-week-old daughter, Lyric Grace.

And in that face, I see beauty. And peace. A miracle.

I understand that there are millions of smiling babies in the world, and for that reason, many may think me naive or overly dramatic.

What's so miraculous about a baby's smile? Nothing, really. And everything.

Because when looking into that smile, if only for a few seconds, time doesn't matter. Figuring out what's going to happen in Iraq, when we'll finally reach the 1,000-death mark, how voters will respond if another Sept. 11 is visited upon us before Election Day or how I can help spread the word about the genocide in Sudan can wait.

Balancing the checkbook, participating in petty arguments, stressing over gut-wrenching decisions and watching warning follow watch in an all-too-active hurricane season don't matter, not while Lyric's smiling, not while she's playfully sticking out her tongue as if to tell me she feels blessed to be in my arms.

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Those brown eyes and those chubby cheeks and that curly hair are enough to crumble a mountain of worry. If only for a few seconds, just enough time to pull me through what seemed like an endless storm, lifting me from the muck of life and recentering me, reminding me that I could choose to be joyful or fearful.

That smile makes clear my choice, whether I focus only on reports such as the one out of Marietta, Ga., where a drunken driver hit a telephone wire support, decapitating his passenger, and continued driving home because he was too drunk to realize anything had happened. And he slept when he got there.

Or the choice to live in a world where we fret about whether another Hurricane Hugo-like storm will visit and devastate us as Hurricane Charley did to parts of Florida.

Or the choice to live in a world where no matter what comes our way - storms or terrorist attacks or unexpected death - nothing can hide a simple truth: Remembering to return to the small, everyday miracle is necessary in an all-too disjointed and cruel world and remains among our biggest responsibilities.

It is more than a return to innocence, but rather, a return to our essence.

The miracle in Lyric's face reminded me of that, but those miracles abound everywhere - if only we choose to ignore the gathering storm clouds and take the time to look.

Issac J. Bailey is a columnist for the Myrtle Beach, S.C., Sun News. Comment by clicking here.


05/04/04: What about the rights of dads-to-be?

© The Sun News (Myrtle Beach, S.C.). Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.