Today, as Spaceship Earth orbits the sun at the unimaginable speed of 67,000 miles per hour, a new passenger has come aboard.
He is my first grandson, Isaiah Kenneth Sagor, and the story of how he came into being is, like all births, a historical miracle defying comprehension.
Isaiah’s great-grandmother, Sylvia age 91, found her passage into this world only because her mother, Dora, found the courage, imagination and resolve to set off on her own as a teenager from Belarus, cross the ocean, find work in a ribbon factory in New Jersey and eventually meet her husband Max and get married in Worcester in 1915.
Isaiah’s grandmother Linda came into being because Sylvia caught Kenneth’s eye at Classical High school in Worcester and he decided that she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen and that he was going to marry her. Linda’s subsequent birth required Kenneth surviving his Coast Guard service in World War II.
Linda, herself, needed to dodge the tornado that struck Worcester in 1953 or Isaiah’s father Josh would not have had his chance to be born. In the house next door a babysitter died in that storm.
Isaiah’s great-grandmother Boots, age 92, owes her existence to her mother Bertha, meeting her father Jack, accidentally and randomly on a party line telephone. They decided to meet up and one thing led to another and they ended up eloping as teenagers. Bertha’s father, David, who came to this country when Grover Cleveland was President did not accept this marriage or speak to them for 10 tears after the elopement.
Isaiah’s grandfather Mark was born because of love at first sight. His father Charles proposed to Boots on their first date and she accepted. Charles also had to survive WW II combat in the Pacific on the USS Essex for Mark’s life to be possible.
Isaiah’s birth required the precise confluence of all these decisions and events, and thousands more mathematically improbable episodes, extending back for hundreds of generations into his parents’ family histories.
These few stories and events I shared are like grains of sand extracted from the vast beach of Isaiah’s family history. And the entire beach itself is but one of billions of densely packed family histories extending back to the beginnings of human life.
Any variation in this stupendous cosmic chain of events and it would not be this Isaiah who was born today.
Awesome. Mysterious. Humbling.
Today, our family takes our turn in caring for a brand new life, reflecting on the miraculous joy and eternal responsibility that accompanies it.
My hope is that someday Isaiah will come to appreciate the extraordinary lines of family connection that made his existence possible, and be inspired by his unique and amazingly improbable journey, to discover a life of purpose, kindness and love.