Blessed are the unwavering, the resolute,
for theirs is the unstretched heart.

Blessed are the bold, the undaunted,
for theirs is the unbended knee.

Blessed are the unapologetic, the loyal,
for theirs are the judgmental eyes.

Do not trade eye for eye; take what you want and leave others to fight over the remains. Do not trade god for god; build your altar and sacrifice every adversary at its base. Do not trade mercy for mercy; let your fist be your rule, your beacon, your island.

If you learn what another sees, how can you be certain in your righteousness? If you recognize the music in another’s prayers, how can you secure applause for your own solo? If you yield to love, how can you remain on your ivory pedestal?

Do not let your own injury be healed
before you wound your neighbor.

Do not soothe your own nightmares
before you teach your children fear.

Do not savor the beauty of your salvation
before you sabotage your sibling’s life.

At every opportunity, turn inward … and inward … and inward. Thus will you ensure that your treasure will be lost, your inheritance scattered, and your honor devalued. Every claim you have made will be sold to the highest bidder, every root you have planted will rot away beneath a new crop, every good lesson you have taught will be thrown into the same pyre you first sparked to bring yourself comfort against the night.

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