There was an old rabbi, beloved by all who knew him for his compassion, kindness and wisdom. He had a newly married son who was having difficulties with his wife. And she with him. So the rabbi asked them to separately come and talk with him.
At the appointed hour, the son appeared at the door. “Come in, come in, my dear son, light of my eye, joy of my heart, fruit of my fruit-of-the-looms. Come in and tell your father what troubles you so.”
“It's that new wife of mine, father. I just don't understand her.”
“What is it you find so difficult to understand, my son.”
The son started listing off the behaviours and attitudes of his wife that irritated him. “Papa, she takes up the whole bed at night. She lets the kids get away with murder. She doesn't shave her legs or armpits. She always cheers for the Raptors when they play the Blue Jays. She ruffles the covers when she farts. She picks her teeth. She never misses an episode of Duck Call Dynasty. She loves Justin Trudeau. She loves Justin Beiber, I mean, Justin Beiber?" The list goes on and on. "Now she wants to move back with her mother. What have I done?! What can I do?! Am I not right to be upset?"
"Yes, you are right, my son. Please, send in your bride. And perhaps a bracing cup of decaf would do you some good."
The young man leaves and before long the rabbi's daughter-in-law enters, looking equally agitated and forlorn. “Ah, precious moon in the firmament, dearest pear in the orchard, you look so sad. Tell me please, what is wrong."
”Please forgive me, father-in-law, I mean no disrespect. But that son of yours, that husband of mine, is driving me mad. He never picks up after himself. He lets the kids get away with murder. He always votes Conservative. He always cheers for the Leafs over the Habs. He picks his teeth. He doesn't shave his ears. He only listens to Mott the Hoople. I mean, Mott the Hoople? Why, I can't even fart in bed without him whining and complaining! The whole thing makes me want to go visit my mother.” Again, the litany continues. “What can I do, father-in-law. I am so confused. Am I right or am I wrong?!"
"Beloved balm to my heart and eyes. You are right. Please go rest, and perhaps something chewy will help a smile to return to your face.”
After she trudges out the door, the old man sighs, gives a barely visible shake of his head, and looks at his thumbs. Just then his wife comes in, fuming even more than the son or daughter-in-law. She positions herself right in from of him, firmly sets her feet and places her clinched fists decidedly on her hips. “My beloved wife, the primrose penumbra of my predawn hours. Most fragrant and delicate petal in my life garden. Wassup?”
“I'll tell you wassup, mister,” she exclaims. “First our son comes in and complains about his wife. And you say he's right. Then his wife comes in and complains about her husband. And you say she's right. Husband! They can't both be right!”
He gazes deeply into her eyes, sighs once again, and says, “Dearest of the dearest, song of all songs, life of my love. You are right!”
My humanity is bound up in yours...
Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we're all in this together.
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard hin as a fool.
How do you understand people so easily, someone asked. The feeling of not being understood is known to me, I replied.
We're all just walking each other home