Rescue

Everyone is shining their flashlights, so as you’re flying over,
it’s kind of like you see a sky full of sparkling stars.
So which star do you pick?

 — Helicopter pilot, after Hurricane Katrina
     

It’s no more random than anything else in life.
Think of all those lights shining in the dark—
the children of famine holding up their empty bowls,
the battle wounded waiting for a medic,
the homeless milling outside the overcrowded shelter,
the hapless victims held at gunpoint,
the sick lying on their pallets at Bethesda,
the dying trapped by fire, flood, earthquake, avalanche,
the living.           

Rescue, if it comes, is only temporary.
The pilots, medics, aid workers, police—
so few, so fallible. 
But high above them the Creator of Light
patrols the dark, counting the stars.
None are missed, all accounted for.

Veneta Masson
Clinician’s Guide to the Soul