Most of them we will never know. God alone knows if we'll ever make our way out there. And God alone knows whether we're worthy of getting off this ball of mud, this little jewel.
So here we sit, turning our world to bloody red, dirt grey, despoiling the place, and ourselves, body and soul. We take pearls, and become swine - or worse than swine, because pigs are pretty damned smart animals, and we, with all our great big brains, are small and petty, dumb in a way that beasts never are, and unworthy of pearls.
Somewhere, a father cradles his child and prays he can protect her; a mother hunts for something to make her son's eyes grow big with joy.
Somewhere doctors fight death; somewhere men and women tear aside bomb-broken walls, in death's way themselves, to rescue their fellow human beings.
Somewhere, a girl creates glorious art, a boy makes music that makes peoples' hearts glad.
Somewhere, someone gives up being selfish and cowardly, even as she is frightened to death of being good.
Somewhere, someone is reaching out to her, giving her the strength, because he knows what it's like to take that step.
Somewhere people are cleaning up their messes, and our messes, too, helping the sky stay blue and the earth still verdant.
Somewhere, someone is standing up to a bully, and maybe even reaching into the bully's heart and starting a sea change.
Somewhere, an old man gives wisdom to a young fool, and a young fool gifts the old man with joie de vivre.
Somewhere, one scientist pulls aside the sky of stars and looks into the infinite, while her colleague peers into the microscope and finds the cure for Alzheimer's.
Somewhere, hearts yearn for love, and are rewarded.
It isn't much, against all the death, and filth, and despair.
But perhaps it's not us doing the judging.
We have always excelled at beating the odds, we fearfully arrogant humans. And perhaps, says the woman who isn't even sure one exists, except at the darkest time of year when she needs one, there's a God out there, forgiving us our arrogance, loving us for it, saying, "Alright, you beloved cheeky monkeys, another year. I can't bear to give you up. I love you."
It's a gift I'll take.
And to all of you magnificent people out there, here's a gift I've proffered before: my riff on "It's A Wonderful Life."
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