Here's to happy endings. Here's to the people who believe the truth that the light will always win over the darkness. Here's to those who understand that the shadow of who we are in building walls will always be drowned out by who we are when we stand in the full light, building bridges. Here's to those who run into fire-fights, to bullets and bombs to pull the innocent to freedom. Here's to the innocent willing to start new lives in far-away lands, pulling family and friends behind them, in the hope that what they left in home will be nothing compared to the joy of a promised land.
Here's to the ones with the broken hearts, who hope in joy in the shadow of the face of death. Here's to the optimists who laugh in the face of cynics. Here's to the weak who laugh and triumph in the face of bullies. Here's to that kid, wounded and harassed by the police on the city streets of north St. Louis because of the color of his skin. Here's to that cop from Tower Grove who chooses to embrace him rather than shoot him. Here's to his wife, passionate about justice, but always worried that he'll come home.
Here's to a country that comes to its senses and elects a decent human being rather than the flashiest human being. Here's to that young woman from Palestine who gets off the bus to show her credentials every day to go to work in Jerusalem and still keeps her dignity. Here's to that young man from Israel who greets everyone with a warm "good morning," in whatever language he thinks you speak at the Damascus gate every day. Here's to him for thinking that I speak French. Here's to the guy in Rome who drives people back and forth from the airport and overcomes his fear of flying to see his mother in a far off city when she is in trouble.
Here's to the guy from Argentina who wanted to leave Rome, but still took on the big job. Here's to the woman from Germany who knew that at the end of 500 miles of walking she'd find the answer that she was looking for, and found it. Here's to the guy who held on to his dreams of being a priest, even when the odds seemed insurmountable. Here's to the girl from Brazil who went to Rome and had the faith to become a woman. Here's to the woman from Ireland who never listened when they told her she'd only be good enough for that little island off the coast.
Here's to everyone who has ever heard that they weren't good enough, and didn't believe it. Here's to everyone who had ever made a powerful enemy, and knew their own worth enough to laugh in the face of certain doom. Here's to the kid on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation that found a way out, but still cares for his family. Here's to the kid who stayed. Here's to my grandfather, and your grandmother when they left poverty and fear behind and braved the seas for something more in the United States. Here's to the grandparents of future generations doing the same on our southern borders. Here's to those that see the illusion of water in the deserts of Jordan, and Syria, and Iraq, and Libya, and still are all the more courageous to brave the real waters of the Mediterranean.
Here's to those who stay and, with integrity intact, risk all that they are. Here's to four nuns, who died because caring for the poor was caring for Christ. Here's to the fierce ones who, unafraid, weave through the lives of refugees at Kakuma, in Malawi, and Uganda. Here's to the guy in the firefight in Ukraine, who stood with a cross in Kiev and stopped soldiers with love. Here's to the woman raising kids and working 40 hours a week. Here's to the boss that pays her the same as her male colleagues. Here's to the dad in Nicaragua who wipes his hands clean of a bribe and welcomes the foreigner, even if he might not be welcomed in their land. Here's to the the people that remember your face, no matter the miles, or the pain, or the joy, because it is one of their own. Here's to still knowing that they'll love you enough to let you go, again, and again and again, as long as you come home, again, and again, and again. Here's to home, but still, here's to a world bigger than right on Hereford, left on Boyltson. Here's to Mount Saint James, and the tower bell. Here's to happy endings. We all deserve them.