Friday, May 06, 2005


i've written on penance before, i'll try to dig it up and post it later this week. to amuse myself, i guess.

you've gathered now that i'm roughly hewn. try as i might to come off as a polished stone, i've still some jagged edges which catch a few unwary souls. they typically happen to be the soft-spoken, gentle, peace-loving, couldn't-hurt-a-fly types. those are the ones who starkly contrast me and make even the raising of my eyebrows appear to be something questionable.

one such soul was talking with my daughter whom i'd asked to renew our library books. this lady is so nice, so kind, so gentle. speaks barely above a whisper and carries herself with meekness.

my husband and i were discussing my contrast to that the other day, i'm loud (most of my family is loud) even my whispers are loud. i'm out there, i speak my mind. and i don't roll-over for just anyone. such is me.

i've stopped trying to fight who i am, it only exasperates me and my poor family who live with me. they have to deal with my sharp edges most, you see.

i've started trying to roll with things. to let the water off my back, rather than gathering it up and trying to spit it all back in the face of whatever sent it my way in the first place.

somedays i do this better than others.

yesterday, i was shelving books at my library (i won the i love the library contest and got $100 just the beginning of april, fast forward to now, i'm doing penance. this is my life).

i have learned you can get out of having to pay for a great many things by simply asking, is there some way i can volunteer (that's the magic word). please is also helpful. but volunteer does wonders.

so my fines get cancelled ($15 worth, yikes! my hubby just started working last week and i'm getting fines like we're the worthingtons).

i offered to come in and shelve books because i found the error to be on my part, not theirs (as i had so arrogantly put it when i spoke to the kind, gentle lady on the phone).

i snuck into the library trying to be incognito and then finally found the nice lady and apologized. i told her i'd shelve books to take care of the fines.

she was pleased, she had three double-sided-three-shelved racks overflowing with books you see. she let me help with those.

i got in a groove, worked up a sweat and shelved two whole carts and part of a third in one and three quarter hours.

penance feels good, i kept thinking. once i do this, i'll be scot free. because i've "earned" my good name back. i've "paid" my price. sigh.

i would have done all three shelves in two hours, but my girl got tired of waiting, so as i was checking out, i told the lady,
i should have been a catholic, i love penance.

she laughed.

i did not think it so funny deep inside.

i rushed home to make a quick dinner for my family so i could rush off and be appreciated for my "volunteer" service with a particular organization.

i pull into the parking lot and there were only two cars.

not again,
i sighed.

for you see, i, the baffoon i can be, did the very same thing last week. i pulled into the parking lot and waited. i'm usually the first one to arrive as i read until people get there. i've taken to setting up the room, so the janitor lets me in, poor soul, then helps me set out all the tables.

i waited until 7:25, a full 25 minutes after the meeting was to have begun and no one showed. ugh. i knew i couldn't be the only person who missed the info. i suddenly felt like a heel. i couldn't undo the tables, they are these huge foldy things with chairs attached. so i had to leave it all for the poor janitor to fix.

talk about feeling like a heel. i thanked him as i drove away. i guess i could have gotten him and fixed the room with him. but i didn't think of that till now. (maybe i can do some penance?)

well, all this to say, i want to be appreciated just like the next guy. i want to be forgiven, just like the next guy. i can't earn any of it. i can make a fine mess, but i can't undo any of my messes. without help.

i'm reading in my Bible this morning, because that is what good christians do, and i was angry and just wanted to weep. the Lord said, it's okay. i even ripped a page of my Bible. and for book lovers, that is nigh apostasy (or bookostasy). so i fixed it, and shut it to come here and write.

somehow my convoluted little world, my random thoughts make more sense on paper (or computer screen) than they do in my head. they line up in nice little rows and actually say something.

but even that, i cannot do alone. i excel at making messes. i can offend and argue with the best of them. i cannot, however, manufacture an ounce of mercy or forgiveness. i cannot do anything good on my own.

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