Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye
Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls …

—Excerpt from Kabul by Saib-e-Tabrizi

I know quite a number of people, ordinary people. Well, about as ordinary as earth’s stars.

I know a man who sits at the edge of his bed, a guitar nestled within his arms and magic erupting as he caresses the strings.

I know another who parts his lips and renders songs with a baritone that leaves angels in awe.

I know a woman with an irrepressible love for all things engineering. She gave focus and ambition and was repaid with excellence.

I know a woman who is many thing to many people. Today, a dependable leader; tomorrow, a talented baker.

I know another who has called poetry home, who is wont to be found at the feet of those who have gone before her, who is coming into her own as a writer of verse.

I also know a man like her, and on most days, all they do is simply try—to be who they are, to be all that they could be.

I know a man who has seen the grace and ugliness in the world’s cultures, who has undertaken a relentless search for the truth—in its entirety—of man and his being here. In making those efforts to avoid single stories—to hear from the lion as well as the hunter—he does what he can to spark conversations that matter.

I know mothers and guardians who have, pardon the cliché, given the cloth on their backs that those whom they made theirs in love could be safe and better off.

I know men, brothers, who have had to assume the roles of father and caregiver—men who have wavered but found a way to keep going, folks who have loved enough to give all of themselves and hold back nothing. I see their strength and their spirit.

I have seen the weariness of friends. I have seen them cry out in pain and frustration at a life they would not have chosen for themselves. I have seen them desire so ardently to give up, and I bear witness to the bravery of their souls, still fighting today.

And I, here… I have tried to write about an inexhaustible list of people, most of whom carry on with their lives quietly. I have tried and I have failed.

Whether or not the world sees you, whether or not a corny young man decides to writes about you, you are stardust. “A thousand splendid suns hide behind your walls”, and I hope you find the strength to keep a window, or perhaps a door, open somewhere.

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