I am 2017. Three hundred and sixty-five days. Fifty-two weeks. Twelve months.
And I am laden with gifts. Weighed down with blessings and grandeur.
Like a favourite aunt’s over-stuffed suitcase. Brimming with potential.
But these gifts are wrapped up in ugliness. Covered with the stiff paper of effort.
Ribbons of pain, trailing, curling, forming bows of agony.
Without an honest heart, these gifts will only be hate-filled horror.
Because the beauty of these gifts comes in the seeing - in the eye-opening truth.
Truth must be carefully hunted, mined like diamonds.
My gifts are the ugliness inside hearts brought to fruition.
They are the completion of the unswept dirt lazily accumulated in souls.
The frayed and untidy edges of ideology unravelling rapidly.
The full nightmare of some unnoticed hate-seeds left lying in the soil of the mind.
How? How can these terrible things be gifts? Presents? Favours?
Although, in truth these things have been seen unfolding in me.
And it has been believed that the urgent, necessary task was opposing hate,
Of being distanced from evil, of sorting each other into boxes labeled “good” and “bad.”
The foremost belief has been that a full war on hate would win the day,
That a belief in good would protect from the insidious evil running rampant;
And that the arrogance required to judge others would not contaminate the innocents.
No, this is not what is required. These are not the necessary tasks.
To unwrap my gifts unharmed, an inward looking, soul searching is required.
The heart. The mind. The very self. The hidden places. The unnoticed spaces.
Searching, sweeping, lighting, weeping, dusting and taking out the trash.
Finding and removing any particles of lazy hate. Of unchecked arrogance.
For my gift is knowledge. Knowledge of the power and danger of hate.
In all its ugliness and shame. In its greed and gross injustice.
So, before opposing this in others, before taking a noble stand with the weak,
Search within. Do an internal inventory. Seek out hate lurking unnoticed.
I’ve shown what it looks like, blown up. Diligently uncover it within,
And cast it out, ruthlessly turning over tables. Whip in hand, strong words firing.
This is not a time for gentleness. It is time to face the ugly truth.
And in the end, this ugly gift becomes freedom, truth, love.
Against these three, no hate will stand.