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Citizen Of Earth
Written by Paul Landis Delaune

     I am a citizen of Earth.  My name and where I abide upon this sphere is of no importance.
What is important is I am one who grappled with the tenuous nature of my own mortality.
Into the jaws of death have I gazed and upon my injured body do I bear the scars of Death’s
cold touch.  Upon the edge of the abyss did I linger as Heaven and Hell
struggled for possession of my living soul.

     Strong was my will to live and unyielding the zeal of my spirit. The Fates decreed my survival
and posterity, to their wisdom am I indebted.  However, the overbearing shock of the ordeal
weighed heavy upon my shoulders and at times following my life’s rescue did I foolishly contemplate
the undoing of my salvation.

     Upon the edge of my destruction – within the darkness did I lose my sense of self.  I was a child
seeking to understand the mysteries of my manhood.  In one sudden incident was my life
transformed and I was thrust into a realm beyond my comprehension.  For a decade I wrestled
with the heritage of my past and the apprehension of a vague, alien future.

     In my anxiety I contemplated quenching my thirst for peace with the bitter, muddy waters of
Jordan.  Only the fear of venturing further into this unknown stayed my hand and forced me to drink
from the cup of life, however timid I may have been.  On an unseen path did I venture, for few
had walked where I must go; none could lead me.

     I walked alone, reluctantly, but it had to be so.  Still, along the way there were others who lent a
helping hand and words of encouragement.  Often steep was my path, uncertain my footing.  Fearful
was I of what lay around every bend.  But with each backward glance, each pause in my way, did I
marvel at my progress from the deep valley far below.

     Then a miracle occurred.  The child became a man.  From the summit of a mountain do I now
gaze down at the cloudbank shielding my eyes from the gaping pit in which I nearly met my undoing.
Turning, do I see the distant peaks towering above my sudden lowly appearing vantage point.
No longer does the boy fear the darkness of his own shadow, for instead does the man anxiously
seek the glory of his next opportunity to continue his life’s trek to new heights.

     From here I muse over the foolishness of my kind.  Man has achieved the means to render the
extinction of his species as well as thedestruction of his world’s wealth.  He gives little in return
but hiswaste and the death of his own making.  He plans the demise of his enemies and plots to
steal the dignity of his brother.

     Will Man burn his cradle and make desolate the womb of his birth? Will he undo the perfect
handiwork of the gods and despoil the prosperity of his heritage?  Will he continue to hate his
brother and to war against those who oppose him?  Will he continue to ignore the
groaning of his spirit and eschew the guidance of divine counsel?

     I remember when, in my youth, I lay upon a hillock and gazed at the bright stars twinkling in
the black sky.  I longed to soar up into the airless void beyond Earth’s protective atmosphere
to explore and learn what wonders and mysteries lie in the heart of Space.  I wished to play
among the stars and gaze upon the sun from a star’s distance.

     But now, as a man, do I better understand the infinite vastness of Space.  In this emptiness
there is loneliness beyond Man’s comprehension.  Fear of such a lonely and empty environment,
as well as the inability to gaze into the wide, friendly sky of Earth, have tempered my desire to venture
into this inhospitable darkness.  No more do the stars beckon my spirit to them; I am content to leave
that wonder languishing in its ignorance.  Such yearnings are for the more adventurous of heart.

     My longings, my adventures, can all be fulfilled here, on Earth. For Earth is the object of my
greatest fascination and happiness.  To gaze upon the brightness of the sun’s glory in the blue
sky and to wander in its warmth – this is my greatest joy.

     But what of Mankind?  When will Man realize the precious glory of  this blessed planet?
Does he understand its finiteness in the panorama of a hostile universe?  Where else may he find
such a loving and generous home?  To where in the multitude of lights in the night-sky can
he prosper?  Does he know where he will go when there is nowhere he can go?