I've been thinking about the future a lot lately.
Last week I attended a joyous event, a beautiful and delightful wedding. The day was shining, the bride and groom young and happy, and as I glanced around the crowd it seemed all in attendance wore shimmering smiles full of genuine fondness. At a wedding your mind wanders across some pretty deep territories; life, love, the passage of time. And it wanders especially toward the future; as you watch a new life for two young people take shape before you, you'd have to be pretty lacking in the introspection department not to think of what their future will be like.
At this wedding in particular I was lost in thoughts of the future because the groom, who stood before me so proud and so handsome, is my son. Anyone who includes the word 'parent' on their list of life experiences knows when you have children your perspective changes 100 percent. Your future takes a backseat to their future. You work toward a better future for them, you want the world to be a safer, kinder, more loving place for them. And there he was, my oldest son, taking a huge leap into that future with a wonderful woman by his side.
Since the wedding I've been trying to envision the world they will inherit. I can't, of course, and I'd be pretty bad at it if I tried; heck, I'm actually disappointed we don't have flying cars. So all I can really do is say what I hope that future will look like, from the macro to the micro.
There's the big-picture side of the spectrum: I would love nothing more than to know their world had shrunk to the size of a pea. They've got the traveling bug, these two, so I know they will see the world, I just hope they find the place more united than divided. I hope they get to see the children who say Salaam grow closer to the children who say Shalom, that borders become welcome centers and less like armed encampments, and that when we think of folks like us we think of people halfway down the block and also halfway 'round the world. I'd like them to know a time when people protect their planet with the same fierceness that they protect their own backyard. And if not, I hope there are still lots of people working to make it happen.
Then there's the little stuff. I hope they get to pick fresh blackberries from their backyard. I hope the internet doesn't do away with the pleasurable experience of a dark movie theater and a bucket of popcorn. I hope they see a time when the World Series finally lives up to that preposterous name and includes teams from other countries.
And I hope for the one thing that every mother hopes for-I want my kids to be healthy, and cared for when they're not. And on that one point at least I can actually do more than hope. I can work for it. My father did that for me: he marched and voted and campaigned for the causes he believed in because he wanted the world to be better for me. So the mom in me can't help it; if I see an opportunity to make the future better for my kids, you better believe I'm going to work to make it happen.
Now that I'm back home, gathering memories of that special day like once-in-a-lifetime flowers, I hope I never forget the prayerful thought I had while I watched my son and his wife exchange vows; that their future be better and brighter than it was for me or my parents. I hope I never forget that, and more than that, I hope I keep fighting for it. My father did it for me. Now it's up to me to do it for them. Looking into the beautiful faces of my son and his wife only strengthened my determination.