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 (Manna 53: Conquering Addictions)
Approaching Repentance
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Approaching Repentance

 

I.

I used to yearn for them,

but now, my tears bring no relief.

They revive; they reproach; they mock

that old repentant self that is never fully sorry.

 

I dare not present my tears to You,

O Lord.

For does this tear here, and that one there,

Or this one that trickles down the same path

ever approach a different end?

Do they not all fall into the same sewer

of aborted renewals?

 

These tears bear witness to many prior ones  -

fallen in their attempt to generate

a spring of faith,

a stream of love

and other such poetic effusions.

 

They are now merely dry tracks

that point to a once-intended direction.

 

II.

But still

the tears will fall.

 

Well then, flow down, my tears.

Yes,

for sins committed,

for deeds left undone, and

for the lost resolution of earlier outpourings.

Flow down, flow down,

But do not think your work completed.

Tears ought to tear the old, forsworn life asunder:

a river of Jordan that carves out the old land from the new.

 

Here, my tears delude,

drops that blur my vision:

tears that tell me my repentance is done

and that life can move on,

as it always has, as it always has -

before.

 

III.

But once,

there were tears unlike mine.

Tears of toil,

tears wrought with the determination of God,

with the determination of love,

with the determination of the word,

of the word which was with God

Of the word which was God.

They were tears of the word, of the word, of the word.

 

Shed in a night,

in a garden of rocks,

in a garden of dead life.

 

They were tears to weld a will

to do the will of God.

 

Tears were shed -

then - 

there -

that should have changed the path

 of all tears thereafter.

 

They were tears of death,

and of life

and were filled with the hope

that all the rocks which cut his knees

 that all the flinty hearts which pierced his own –

would one day melt,

and water and nourish the garden of God.

 

Yes, once there were tears,

not of water and salt, but of blood.

 

IV.

But those are not mine.

 

My tears are weak,

and they are infirm.

 

I dare not, O Lord, present them to you

as an offering of repentance,

of change,

for what have they ever changed?

 

I present them to You,

as an offering of myself,

A broken and contrite spirit, O Lord,

That knows it is not broken or contrite enough.

 

Tears that are nothing but what they are,

from a person who is nothing but what she is:

simply,

the merest expression of sorrow,

from a wavering faith,

that requires the blood of Your tears

to be what they,

to be what You

meant us to be.

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