They hit like a wave, these regrets.
I grew up thinking that sin was to steal, to maim, to kill. That sin was those dark violent things in which I had no interest, and I would be safe from regret. Just ordinary. Just normal.
Then to have children.
To love and love and love and love and love and love and love and love.
And to get tired. And be selfish, just a little. And impatient. And disappointed. And just want to read my book and think my thoughts and why do you always spill something when I’ve just sat down?
Outside so frustrated, why won’t you just try for a minute?
The minefield of a bedroom, red with rage, it’s no harder to put clothes in a drawer than on the floor.
You wanted something and I was on the phone. What was it? You never would tell me.
Just normal means doing it wrong so many times. Being distracted, not listening. Thinking you’re whining. Letting you see I don’t like you, not right now, not this minute. Putting you second place to my favorite show, my chores, my fun, my sorrow.
Go to bed, go to bed, go to bed. It won’t even cross my mind to ask why you can’t sleep. Not for years. The salt on my tongue. Not until you’re grown and the wave crashes and I ask myself, was that it? Was that the moment I failed her?
Just normal is how we create hurt.
Your face when I yelled at you. Your cry when I slammed the door. When I knew I was wrong but I couldn’t stop myself. It’s normal to get angry, normal to be irritated, normal to be exhausted and overwhelmed, normal normal normal normal as normal as a let-down child at the periphery of an imperfect mother.
And the regrets wash over me, the tsunami of pathetic little sins that dirty the edges of a mediocre life. They stack up in a grimy pile and mock me in the tears of my children.
To cry and cry and cry and cry and cry and cry and cry and cry and cry as those children change and grow and move on and are gone almost before I noticed, and I missed the moment to make it up, to undo the hurt, to reclaim the ideal I once represented, and they are already gone
taking their hurts and their damage with them.
I cannot make up, I cannot undo, I cannot erase. And so, the wave hits and I fall to my knees beneath it crushed by the hours and days and years I have spent enmeshed in my selfishness while I failed those I loved most profoundly.
The tears I cause weigh on me, they pull me to my knees, they pull me to my face, they form into a wave, a mountain, a tsunami, (What hell do the thieves and the murderers inhabit that is different from this?)
I gasp an apology to the universe for the wounds I have set in its face, the thousand unkindnesses I have unleashed on the world by being
And then and then and then!
A familiar hand lifts me off my knees. It is deeper than the ocean, wider than the universe, vast and ageless and vast and yet here it is, as tiny as my heartbeat and intimate as home. It is wet from the tears it wiped off the faces of my children.
Light dances with joy upon the water, clean and clear and whole. It sings that the end was known from the beginning, that the way was prepared before I embarked, that the failure was built atop its own redemption, that normal is the embryo of exalted, that all is well!
The vast and intimate hand is wet from the tears it wiped from off the faces of my children, and the message graven on its wrist and palm reads “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”
I am dancing with joy upon a breath of air, weightless, I cannot come to earth, for my inadequacy – my sin – my regret – my failure – are no tsunami after all
they are a droplet, a gasp, weighing nothing
they are no match for Forgiveness