What happens
when a dancing person
meets a moping person
on the road?
Somewhere in the world
right now
someone got the job,
someone found a twenty
in her skinny pants,
someone may now kiss the bride.
Elsewhere a man is driving
back to Mom and Dad's, giving up,
someone is slowly losing a child.
The moping person approaches.
What will the dancing person do?

I've never been at once so happy
and so surrounded
by lost and lonely friends.
My selfish self shivers.
Keep your distance.
I will light their way
with my flashlight,
but keep them out
of the firelight.
I don't like to look at them.
My sad self says,
Let them in.
We were given a place
to sit and warm our hands.
My selfish self grunts.
I don't like to look at you either.

I know he's wrong.
I've never been so reckless and toxic
as when I've forced happiness
by refusing to touch sadness—
locking the gates, burning the bridges,
deporting the ruiners,
alienating myself.

If you weren't welcome
to stumble into Heaven
half an hour late,
drunk or hung over,
it wouldn't be Heaven.
It'd be worse than church.

If Heaven has gates
they never close. They stand open
as a declaration and reminder
that those likely to ruin everything,
out-of-town visitors from Hell,
may arrive without warning
at any time in eternity
and find welcome.
That's why it's Heaven.
That's why we're here.

May I never settle for happiness
that is not happy
to greet Brother Sadness
with a mug and a chair.