Holidays in the Trenches
You didn’t come to start a war. You came-to in a war zone, looking for a way out. Those who hate you for disturbing the peace, ignore the landmines under your feet. Offended more by the wound than the violence that inflicted it. Peace is an easy option for those whose firmament is safe.
I’ve learned not to trust the flags people wave. A war cannot be known by it’s symbols. The enemy isn’t the banner; it’s an infectious solipsism. We treat each other like avatars. Like you are standing before me as a emblem of what you represent. Like your pain is a metaphor in my story. How we love a good story.
We dismiss each other’s cries because we dismiss each other’s nuanced realness. Only perfect victims allowed. You don’t look hurt. You have other motives. You don’t fit my narrative. Bleed for me. Play to the crowd of me. Make your agony easy for me or else I won’t recognize it.
Use the symbols of culture to carve out space for your pain to be allowed to exist.
We try to play those parts for others, too, because the purpose of communication is to reach out to the world around us, to participate in life, to get a response. So we use the convenient stereotypes, and then we ask you to see past them. We are soldiers in this war but also financiers, double agents trying to survive.
I haven’t found a path out of here. I don’t have a map to sanctuary. There’s no savior swooping in, no deus ex machina. There is only us, clinging to our humanity, to the faith that we can learn to see through our prepackaged fictions about each other… and about ourselves.
You can’t tend this soil without disturbing the roots. You can’t sew your seed without pouring water from your father’s cup. But it’s Christmas, so we dig a trench and hold, awaiting a better option down in the hollow earth.