prayer for inclusion (audio 3:22)

I first wrote this poem in 2009 to commemorate the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Named “The Inaugural Poem We Should Have Had” in an admittedly very small online competition, it also appears with a different image on the home page carousel.

Include me.

Invite me into the circle and guide me
to the spot that bears my name
Escort me with a steadying touch,
loose your hold and bear me aloft.

Include my joy and ebullience,
my hope and promise,
The tracks of endless tears
and the wounds of struggle and pain
that have marked the past.

Include me raw and refined,
defiant, quiescent
Include me enriched and diminished,
broken and healed
Embrace me as the one anointed and demeaned,
Privileged and impoverished by stature, circumstance
or the trajectory of an inconstant moon.

Include my willingness.

Reap the fruits of surrender
I have cultivated for this moment
Lead me through a doorway unadorned,
a hallway lined with latency,
Pass the drinking gourd so that all who thirst
May sip the undilute nectar of belonging.

Include me as woman, man, brother, sister,
parent, child
Include me offering and offered,
receiving and giving, creator and creation
Weave the strands of my soul
into a blossoming tapestry of voices
Joined by the shared heart of humanity
and a long-aching hunger for unity.

Use every part of me
Include the infinitesimal and the inestimable
Lift me at once to my full height and humility
Draw out my hidden gifts and squandered talents
And draw me into the arms of others
who await my arrival.

I am here in this Now,
Filled with passion, with purpose
My prayer but so simple:

Include me.

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