There’s a town not far from here and the folks are just like us. They like things in their quiet lives to flow without a fuss. The parents teach their children, who grow to teach their own, “You will be accepted if you if you sing in mon-o-chrome”: You’re just like me and that is good it means we get along. You dress like me and talk like me it shows that we belong.
One day a traveller came to camp, he was old and weary worn, His clothes were wrong, his speech was odd; he was an ugly thorn. They tried to move him on; told him of another place to stay, He really could go anywhere but, “Please, just go away!” You’re not like us and that’s not good - because you challenge me, The way you act, the way you are – it’s just wrong. Can’t you see?
He simply smiled, unrolled his bed and said he’d stay a while. No one spoke or welcomed him; they shunned him in their style; Cold shoulders, silence, squinty stares, whispers behind raised hands. They’d get rid of him quick smart, ‘cause he didn’t understand. You’re not like us and that’s not okay, you have to be somewhere else. If you stay and challenge me… I’ll have to question “self”.
The wise old man in pity stayed and raised his rutted shield. He hunkered down, withstood the war and refused to yield. He moved among them, felt them squirm and caused great unease: “What I bring, you do not like. I bring the gift that sees”: I see you in your weak façade; you fear “other” and “unknown”. See me in my honesty, I Am: my truth I don’t disown.
When sun rose on his empty camp, curdling screams and panic reigned. All around the town every person had been changed. All were branded, marked and marred in some horrific way, Each person was now disabled and “deficient” in some way. “I’ll teach you that we’re not alike, because we cannot be. Difference is not wrong; it is a gift that lets you see”.
Anger, hurt, frustration, pain, confusion, anger, pain: All of this a cycle that went round, and round again. Each to their own, each for themselves; no longer unified: Because naked and exposed, they had nowhere to hide I am different. I’m alone. I cannot mask what I’ve become. All can see me marred and changed. My defences are undone.
Time passed by and people learned to cope with what he’d done. They learned to stoop and feel their way - no longer did they shun. The simplest things too exhausting now, they didn’t even try to worry about what others thought, it was all about getting by. I know I’m different, I know I’m odd - I cannot fit the mould. I’m trapped, awkward and suffering … and this town is really cold.
One day someone realised that since they had lost their sight They now heard a vast range of things that others never might; Sounds distant softly cooed and echoes singing sweet. There was no denying pain of loss, but this gift brought relief. I know I‘m different and so be it; I’m “deficient”, “damaged”, “diseased”, But if you take the time to look, you’ll see the beauty within me.
Another noticed that their loss had brought them time to sit. No longer running here and there; no longer stressed and sick. Now peace of acceptance fell like a mantel of still and calm, In fact, others now craved their company; a salve and healing balm. I know I‘m different and so be it; I’m “deficient”, “damaged”, “diseased”, But if you take the time to look, you’ll see the peace within me.
One who now had no control of body, limb or sound, Was tortured, sealed, muted and in convulsions bound. Could not communicate with speech, nor any spoken word Was given resonating power with language never heard. I know I‘m different and so be it; I’m “deficient”, “deformed”, “diseased”, But if you take the time to look, you’ll see the passion within me.
One was locked behind a wall; impenetrable … tinted … glass. Another feared at every turn some disaster would come to pass. One was trapped in a spiral of addictive actions, thoughts and deeds. Yet another was cast in constant pain; they were driven to their knees. I know I‘m different and so be it; I’m “deficient”, “damaged”, “diseased”, But if you take the time to look, you’ll see the strength within me.
Finally the town began to note, that they sought each other out, For each had what another lacked and they too had gifts to tout. None was whole or without a fault, each was a broken piece, That needed others to fill their gaps and make each other complete. I’m glad you’re different, thanks be for that, I’m glad that you see me. For now I see and fill your void and I will let you serve my need.
They finally learned what the wise old man had determined that they glean The masks he’d made did not mask at all, it forced them to be seen. We each bring our own notes, tuned by trails, torments and tears, So that together we make pure harmony that sings truth to all ears. It’s good and right we’re not the same, we are not meant to be. Difference is not wrong; it is a gift that lets you see.