A Stage and A Seat

The applause dies down as I take my place, facing down the warped thing that looks like me
but sounds like death.

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She wore a dress that costs more than my student loans.
He owns five properties free-and-clear, and I’m underwater on my house.
They said it only costs $30 a month, and I wanted to slap someone.

I hang my shoulders, turn my pockets out and make a pitiful face.
I feel small, and I hate feeling small.

In an effort to feel better, I think like a fool,
and I believe what I think.
I step onto a stage, and deliver my speech:

“Here, let me criticize your wealth.

Especially when you have more money than I do.
Somehow my poverty is holier than your success.

I detest your joy and I resent your adventures.
I fear and yet long for your freedom.
I hate how it makes me feel, to see you live how I do not.
I don’t see your work or the cost you paid, only thornless roses.”

My heart delivers this speech blisteringly
with eloquence, with cadence,
like a player on a stage delivering his monologue
to an audience of the destitute.
There is a weird, tarred blackness in my throat.

“Therefore, I will stand in gross judgment,
chest puffed with empty wind,
pointing a finger of ignorance and entitlement.
That you would live like I cannot offends me.

That you would make me feel like this means
you must be cruel and oppressive
and I am the defenseless victim of your success.

That you do not politely sink to the level of my comfort
makes me angry!”

I give a deep bow with feigned humility to thunderous applause.
My defeat is neatly delivered in indignant self-pity.

But the scene is not done.

As though a twin of myself,
I walk onto the stage from the left.
Stepping up five golden steps,
I take the elevated seat.

The applause dies down as I take my place,
facing down the warped thing that looks like me
but sounds like death.

The place is silent and slowly,
water begins to trickle from my chest.
The Seated Me begins, more by faith than feeling,
Quietly, but without hitch.

“Indeed, the voice of a queen will reset this place,
for it is buried in death and twisted in lies.”

The ground trembles a little as authority secures it.
The trickle flows a little faster, and the front of my dress is covered in light.

“I call up the divine, powerful blueprint from His heart in me,
the seed that knows I am worthy, capable and purposed.

Why have I decided to malign the one I could be learning from?

When did I cease to believe in my own capacity to build, to earn, to succeed?

When did I hold sure-things and safety closer to me than wisdom and failure?
Has not failure been my great teacher?

Is my Father, the Might of All Creativity, so small in me,
that His inspiration is so drowned by an orphan’s whimper?
Does not everything of Him belong to us?”

The water is flowing quickly now, down across the stage and onto the feet of the crowd.
It rises quickly.
Everything it touches is as though black mud dissolved into gold.
Sinews glisten and black eyes turn to blue crystal.
Hearts begin to pound like a drum,

and one voice becomes many,
so powerful that the walls of the theatre evaporate.
We start to echo, like a wind.

“Here, we see feet and hands!
We see eyes and mind and courage!”

There is a great rumble.

“Here, feet, flex and stand and climb!
Here, hands, pick up and lift and carry!
Here, eyes, see open doors!
Here, mind, think with wisdom, freedom and power!

Here, let us build the tangible and the intangible.

Let us be filled with honor for every weight. Let us encourage and respect the bearers!

Water pours out of us all,
and we cover the earth.

Here–here, let us build together! The Might of All Creativity is alive. Here, He is in us after all!”

More of us need to sit on our golden seat and take back the territory inside our own minds.

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