I never prayed much.
Not just because of my thoughts on religion or the lack thereof
and not for any other reason
than the fact that I have no tongue for it.
I think of myself as an equal to the parable about the tax collector –
he was the so-called sinner to which
the righteous man or the Pharisee
saw himself as better
or “greater than”.
The Pharisee talks about how good he is.
He talks about what he does
and how he donates part of his wealth
and how he prays to the letter of the law; meanwhile,
the tax collector walks by the temple
and looks up at the sky.
He beats his chest and says, “Forgive me, a sinner.”
I get that . . .
Now, as the story goes,
the Son of Man told the Pharisee
“Truly, I say to you”
the tax collector above the Pharisee
would go home justified before God.
The reason is those who exalt themselves
will be humbled
and those who are humbled
will be exalted.
I don’t see myself as exalted or humble or anything other than this;
I am a person in this world.
I have a list of mistakes.
I have a list of regrets.
I have a list of wants and needs.
i have both credits and debts in my society
and . . .
I have a desire to pay for what I’ve done
and replenish what I’ve taken.
I am not a person who needs to stand above
or before anyone; yet,
at the same time, I just want to be good.
I want to be pure
I want to go home at the end of the day
and be justified before the mirror in which I see myself.
And yes, the mirror doesn’t lie – even if we lie to ourselves,
the truth is in our reflection.
There’s a line. You know?
This line is between me and you or between us and the world.
At some point, we have to choose a side.
At some point, we have to choose which side we want to be on.
And, the question which comes is this:
Do we want to be right or do we want to be happy?
Do we want to be liked
or do we want to be content
as in satisfied or justified
and welcomed in the house, one day
forever and ever
I gave up being righteous
I had to
I had to step away from the lights and dimness
of people-pleasing or attention seeking
I had to
I had to stop wondering who notices
or who cares
I had to stop wondering where the accolades would come from
and learn to cheer for myself
Does anyone notice anything anymore
Or, are we too busy; heads down into cell phones
“look, another tragedy” but don’t help.
Just be sure your phone is recording
Is it me? Is it you?
Is it something in my chemistry
that either attracts or repulses?
I had to stop wondering who likes me and who doesn’t.
But more specifically;
I had to stop worrying about the outcomes
I had to stop the train, dead in its tracks
and change my direction
and sense of faith
I think it was brilliant when someone told me,
“You’re not in the results business.
You’re in the effort business.”
And it’s true!
I have no control over what comes next.
I can have input. I can hedge my bets.
I can live my life to the best of my ability;
but either way,
the fact is, it will still rain when I need the sun to shine.
People will always be people and in the end
or at the end of the day,
it doesn’t matter what anyone says or does
or if they think about me or if they care
because when the end of the day comes;
I still have to face myself in the mirror
and come to a constructive conclusion.
Otherwise, all I’ll have is the weariness of a life
that goes unfulfilled
Today marks my 50th trip around the sun.
Today would have been a morning where my Mother would call,
early as ever, and she would sing to me.
Perhaps I took this for granted.
I know that wherever she is, she’d probably call
(if the phones worked where she lives) and
she would sing Happy Birthday.
As for The Old Man, his last Happy Birthday came to me back in 89.
It was funny too because I rarely heard the occasion
when The Old Man would cry,
but he did. He asked, “can I do something for you?”
And then he sang it. Tears and all.
I only had a few minutes at the pay phones, Pop.
But I sure wish I could relive that call once more.
I don’t know much about God or whether I am heard or who listens.
For the record,
I am not interested in hearing
what someone else thinks about God
or his relationship with me.
He knows me very well and personally.
I don’t know much about my faith or the lack thereof.
However, I do know that I have the sense of spirit.
I know that somehow, in some way,
there is something out there for me.
I know that to get where I want to go, I have to do what it takes
to be where I want to be – and sometimes,
this means sitting still. Sometimes this means I have to be patient.
Other times, this means I have to get up and move.
I never prayed much at a traditional level
and then again, I pray every day.
I whisper my thoughts and tell my secrets to the stars.
I watch the sunrise and say thanks
for another spin around the sun.
I may not know much
but I do know that forgiveness does not exist
unless forgiveness comes from within
Whether I am forgiven or not,
at least I am humble, a sinner, a person in this life
who has fallen and returned, lived and breathed,
and at this moment, I have been around the sun,
in full circulation for the 50th time today.
Perhaps the best gift of any Birthday is this moment,
here with you
because more than anything, I know you. I love you
and more than this,
I know that you love me too – faults and all.
Check in on me today if you can.
It’d be nice to hear from you. Even if only for a second.
Oh, and PS, tell Pop
I wish I remembered his lessons about the clouds.
He used to tell me you could always tell what weather was coming
if you knew how to read the clouds.
I don’t mind the weather so much these days. At least, not really
it’d be nice to understand how to read them
just to know what’s coming my way.
Send my love to all who are up in the stars.
Your son and humble narrator,