Outside even when included

Every year my family gets together to celebrate the holidays, Christmas and Thanksgiving. And every year they ask someone to say a prayer. This year they asked me. I said no. I was gracious about it, but I said No.

Because how do I say a prayer when it won’t be to their god. How can I say a prayer when it will first be spoken in the language of my prayers then again in their language. How would I explain that we don’t give thanks for what our god gave us but ask what we can do for our god. Not a god of blessings but one of a deeper path. How do I explain an entire lifetime of belief and structure and obligate choices. How do I even this prayer which is orchestrated would be an affront.

I don’t know. Don’t know how to tell them I’m not like them. In how many ways I’m not like them. And even when they grasp my paganism, they think that yule is a good thing, something similar to a celebration instead of a solemn affair.

It’s exhausting to stay quiet. To not broach subjects. To keep quiet on others. And still, there is always more. Lines that can’t be crossed and words that can’t be said.

My god would say, “The work is the work. You have to act before you can know.” And that’s true but how do you tell them that what they presume, even when told repeatedly otherwise, isn’t true.

It’s an odd feeling. To be included but excluded at the same time. To belong to something but not fit into it. There is a pressure and a sadness there.
I know how easy it would be to give in, to shred my self and conform. To lie and mouth their words in petty forgery of faith.

But then who would I be?

Starving in the land of plenty

We act like our world is all one way
Blissful or burned by parallel reality
Same universe, same world

But really, how many lives can you see?
Which journeys will take you down roads that branch and branch until you see no way out?
Or end all too abruptly in a grave?
We want what we want and we want it now.
Blinded by our choice to only see those opinions that echo our own.
Unable to change minds because our own are so mired in our mirrors
Reflecting opinions back until anything outside is a foreign body to be attacked

Our opinions are so often lies of those tied to a news cycle
read an opinion and assimilate it rather than form your own
Learn someone else’s philosophy and wisdom, regurgitate
Look am I not wise
I said the same thing the parrots of my political flavor say

Things change but in cultural drifts
In ebbs and flows
Stutters and starts
In conflict
In choices each time we open our mouths
Open our doors

It’s in the quiet words we tell ourselves and in the reason why we shout
I’m here
I’m alive
I matter
Listen to me
Words fade in the cacophony

But be the rock unwavering
and be beaten to sand
A sacrifice
A choice
A stand

Life ends
In our silence
In our fear

Hope dies
Undiscovered in the discarded dross
Of our willful blindness

Take my eyes
I wish to see