Drabble 182 – Allotheism

A photo of an altar featuring a book with pressed flowers and a box holding crystals.

I find a lot of value in being wrong. When I was a tutor, the lesson I most wanted to share with my students is that there’s no shame in not knowing something. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn. This sounds like something you’d find stitched on a throw pillow, but it’s also something I’m teaching myself, bit by bit.

Failing at something, being wrong, making mistakes—all of these things feel terrible. I would rather succeed at everything, be right all the time, and execute every task flawlessly. I’m sure we all would, even if we know that it’s unrealistic.

I’m not, generally speaking, the kind of person who likes to ruffle feathers or play devil’s advocate. But I am precisely the kind of person who sometimes picks her own thoughts into shreds, trying to find whether there is truth there. Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn’t. Even when I come away with the discovery that I was wrong, I come away with something else, too—a new piece of knowledge, some insight I didn’t have before.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

ALLOTHEISM

(n.) from Greek allos, for “other, different,” and theos, “god”

The worship of foreign or unsanctioned gods.

Lily has always had a silver tongue. As a child, it got her out of trouble. As an adult, it gets others into it.

A lie is often more interesting than the truth. When she lies—in pamphlets, in speeches given from more charismatic mouths—it’s disguised as helpfulness. “The gods have turned away,” the man on television says, and her mouth moves along with his. “We owe them nothing.”

And she agrees. But it’s not about owing. As shrines are torn down, temples razed, she collects the rubble for herself, lights a candle, and prays; her loyalty deserves the utmost reward.

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