As a grade schooler, I was mostly manufacturing a lineup of the usual sin suspects in there, but it was still comforting to know I could lay my guilt at someone’s feet, accept my penance, and walk away clean. But thinking back, I realize the only time I really felt clean, sure of God’s forgiveness, was praying my penance at the communion rail, knowing I had fulfilled my part so God would do his. Soon as I walked back out to the street, bets were off again.
Just now in the early dark, the words forgive me Father are right there on the tip of my mind, and I smile at myself, because it’s so natural to ask. It’s a beautiful thing to repair relationships with our amends, apologies, and a formal request for forgiveness.
But would I stand in front of a tree and say, shade me? I go to the tree for shade because the definition of a tree includes branches and leaves, an accidental canopy against the sun. The tree doesn’t decide who it will shade or when to withhold, if I’m close enough, I’m shaded. Would I stand before a fire and say, warm me or by a waterfall and say, cool me? I go to these things for their gifts, but I don’t have to ask. I just have to be close enough…
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