If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures
from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. …St Francis
The Dragons around the Nest are not happy today. And normally they would be. It’s October 4th – one of their favorite days of the year. Not only is it the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, it is also Kiss-a-Dragon Day.
This is the day when, despite the anti-Dragon sentiments of the old Church, Dragons give a nod to the one Churchman who knew in his bones that from the least to the greatest – and who among us is greater than a Dragon? – we are all creatures of the Universe.
That we are all worthy of love, affection, and the greatest care. It is the day when we humans reach out in humble atonement for violent wrongs done to Dragons by church and knight and ego-maniacal warrior kings. When we bridge our differences not with cold steel but with a warm embrace.
Every year before now, the Dragons round the Nest and their friends around the world have taken to the skies. They were cautiously thrilled by the progress our species have made together. But this year they are angry and sad and crying out in the wilderness.
“How can humans be trusted to be kind to beings like us – or even cats and dogs and guinea pigs – when you are so vicious and cruel to each other? Have you learned nothing from your past? Have you learned nothing from us?” they asked. This isn’t politics, they insist. Dragons have no use for politics. This is wondering where our basic ‘humanity’ has gone.
I look at the blood in the streets of Las Vegas and Catalonia, at the catastrophic losses in Puerto Rico; I hear the deafening drums of war rumbling around the globe. I don’t know how to answer my scaly friends. Honestly. Because the Dragons are right. For all our positive human accomplishments – and they can be awesome – we are still a cruel, self-centered, superstitious species. We kill our own in madness and zealotry, and elect leaders who line their pockets and exploit their power all the while treating the most vulnerable of their people with callous disregard.
So this year, perhaps Kiss-a-Dragon Day should not be one of silliness and mirth. Perhaps, listening to our Dragon friends, we should embrace each other in empathy and consolation. With tears as well as joy. In humble recognition that the worst in us is loose, and in the hopeful promise that the best in us can triumph. In the promise to replace contempt with respect, negligence with care, hate with love. A promise to follow the example of St. Francis and the wisdom of the Dragons. To live up to our better angels.
In the spirit of compassion and love – of making our world a better place – kiss a Dragon today.