My mom always wanted “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” played at her funeral. But I never truly understood why until a thorn pricked me.

Sweating at her graveside, preparing to lower her casket into the damp earth, the lightbulb finally lit: People are like roses. 

The blooms are beautiful, rich even, but their stems are covered in prickly thorns. And they hurt—as a kid I watched a friend accidentally run straight into a rose bush during a backyard football game … he did not enjoy the gifts he received.

Humans, they’re beautifully complicated beings with a heart-warming capacity for empathy. Recently, after three historically black churches in Louisiana burned, a prominent twitter user Yashar Ali (@yashar) brought attention to the issue. The GoFundMe had raised $159k before he started his twitter campaign. Within 36 hours, the total exceeded $1.8 million. Beautiful. 

And there are those who break down barriers. Barriers of class, or gender, or race, or just historic achievement. Or Tiger Woods manages to resurrect his career after years of self-destruction. 

The caveat, however, is that we are equally as adept at destruction. Entire civilizations have been destroyed. Countless wars fought. Countless groups forced to endure unconscionable horrors. A never-ending stream of mass shootings.

Or, maybe, you open Twitter to see Jacob Wohl failed to manufacture false sexual assault allegations against a prominent “threat” to President Donald Trump again, only actually damaging future survivors who come forward only to be doubted. 

But despite the prickly nature of a rose, millions of people still love them. They’re a symbol of love. The beauty outweighs the prick. And people are much of the same. We might get caught up in the horrors, but the beauty of people—naturally good people who care and love and feel raw emotion—should outweigh the pricks seeking some twisted self-fulfillment. 

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