There was this boy who sat cross-legged and invented superhero stories and wrote songs, and all just for the fun of it. Maybe he dreamed of a world when the world would reward him with a house on a hill and a good woman and happily ever after, but mostly he immersed himself in the story and the lyrics and the imaginary world of it all.
One day he was old enough that he had to decide how he was going to feed himself, and he knew it would be with the words, and he spent years and years and years sending words into the ether and onto newsprint pages, humming the songs all along the way and dreaming of the old stories.
The end of the road was not quite in sight, but it may have been over the crest of the next hill or a few dozen hills beyond that, and still he was dreaming about that other path, the one with the stories and songs, and when he was weary of second-guessing, he said, “I’m just going to do it, here I go now, I’m going to write what I always wanted to write, here it all comes world, here I come.”
Nothing happened at first, and he worried that’s how the world would find him, crouched down to take the leap and never having leaped. But then he started jumping and walking and running and sprinting, and the words — oh, the words! — they flooded the page with energy and pith and vinegar, and he didn’t care if the world noticed, but he wanted the world to see what it could be if it only embraced the joy and the feeling of wow-isn’t-it-a-marvelous-gift-to-be-alive?
The world watched him sprint by and looked at one another and said, “Oh, bother, there goes another one, when will they ever learn?” But over here, and over there, and perhaps there on the side, one by one others looked the way he’d gone and took a step, and then another step, until they discovered the joy and bells rang and shouts shouted, and soon a small crowd was jumping and dancing and screaming “joy!” to the world.
Something began to soften in the heart of the world, maybe not in a lifetime but over there on the horizon where they saw a hope of a better world where joy was more common than sorrow and where puppies and kittens can come out to play and be free.
“Be free!” he called as he flew out of sight. “Love one another and lose the shackles of darkness and anger and hate. The love and the joy will lift us all to the sky so we can live. Understand this above all, oh, please open your eyes and see the world that could be — Make it the world we all know and leave the madness behind. Please, oh, please do this for one another and yourselves …”
Once he was gone, his words echoed in their minds like the memory of the most powerful exhilaration anyone had ever known. And first one person, then another, set down their weapons and worries and saw each other for the first time.
And on everyone’s lips was a smile and a question: “Wow. Isn’t it a marvelous gift to be alive?”