I am feeling ridiculously happy--which means, I know, that I better take care. But...

This morning, three pictures of a new born boy arrived in the mail. An old friend's first grandchild, the child of a young woman I first met in her mother's arms. And last night was another birth: my grandson sang lead in the last high school musical he'll sing in, since he's about to graduate. College looms for him. But last night....last night we all discovered a power lurking within, a rich, untrained, but true-enough baritone that--and I use the word I experienced--thrilled everyone who heard it. His voice didn't stop the show--it stopped the world inside the gym where, on fold-up chairs, about 200 people watched--no listened--to him shatter, as his voice rang out, the prison of his and our prisons. His voice lifted us by the hair, echoed off the walls, destroyed the walls--for he wasn't just singing: he was showing us a self set free and by doing so set us free, too. We weren't listening; we were stunned. Every single person in that gym was in his hands, held and led by his voice, willing, eager, to be led to whatever place he wanted to take us. The present held steady...the future trembled at the lip of time's cup.

The phrase in my mind as I climbed the stairs with my coffee to write was "a new birth of freedom."  A new baby. A new voice. A birth. A graduation. Coming into life. Going to college. A self that revealed itself, perhaps surprising my grandson--did he feel the silence he commanded? Did he know he could lead us anywhere? But we heard. We now know his secret; we felt his power. And what is that power but his gift? Today, my friend's grandson is three days old. Today, my grandson is seventeen.

Whitman sings out his vision of living freely--

Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!

What else can one wish the new baby in his mother's arms and the boy who carries a great power about to take his next step out into a wider world?

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