I was told a long time ago that my purpose was to carry a torch and to keep that fire burning wherever I traveled. Oh, I saw some beautiful and magnificent places, I explored forgotten ruins, and I forged my own path. I was shown what humanity could be and its potential was limitless. I was a witness to the rise and fall of powerful kingdoms, glorious leaders, and masterful rulers. I watched technology advance to great lengths and quality of life improve for everyone. Above all, I carried that torch dutifully and guided those around me to their destinations. Until one day I found myself at the edge of the world having walked until my feet no longer knew how to stop. My body no longer knowing what home felt like, and I sat down and cried.
For all these wonders of humanity, I also saw how destructive humans can be left to their own devices. I watched as kingdoms fought and crumbled, cities torn apart and razed to the ground. Women and children murdered in the streets, their lifeless bodies scattering the once populated market-places. I watched people being burned alive in their own homes, people being executed for their beliefs, and intolerance all around. I stared in shock as people spit on the beggars, the poor, the cripples. I watched as veterans of great wars were discarded in the streets, the same poor and crippled men who were spat upon. I felt the hatred in their eyes, I saw the pain in their hearts, and I smelled the air that was full of disdain. I walked through areas destroyed by famine, and ravaged by plagues. I could do nothing but watch as people died in the streets, collapsing in front of others who hurried out of the way to avoid the dead. I stood by families as they held their loved ones dying hands and wept, and I said a prayer for the dead who had no one to call family. What a horrid thing to die alone, after having watched your family die before you. To take your last breath alone, full of fear only to look around and see no one.
I found myself conflicted at the end of my road, and I asked my creator why he would allow such an abundance of suffering in the world, why such pain continued to plague humanity. He spoke to me in a gentle, but powerful voice. He said it was his choice to allow them to have free will, it's their choice to do great good or great evil. Humans can infinitely thrive or destroy one another. I pondered for a moment, having listened to his answer, and nothing I came up with could compare to what I saw. I couldn’t tell you why I saw such horrors, and I couldn’t describe the beauty and awe of the world I traveled. In that moment, the words would not come to me. Instead, I laid down that torch, I was exhausted, and I wept once again.
I chose to set my path ablaze, and to watch humanity burn with it rather than give it the chance to destroy itself. That fire turned into an inferno, all the pain, the sorrow, and the hatred I felt only served to fuel it further. In the midst of this great firestorm, I sat down and screamed at my creator, I did what you asked of me, now let me die in peace. I watched the embers flicker all around me, they looked like shadows dancing in and out of the flames. I waited there to die, but the flames never touched me. This inferno scorched everything around me, but I was untouched. Despite everything that had happened, my creator refused to let me die. He had found a new purpose for me instead. He said go forth and tell your story, tell them what you have seen, what you have felt, it's your choice to bring forth good in this world or to take with you the flames to purge the wicked. You who has walked to the ends of the earth and seen unspeakable horrors, you get to decide just as they did. Will your story be one of the powers of hope, love and courage? Or will you choose to carry that flame again?